Thailand clear of H7N9 bird flu
The Public Health Ministry has confirmed there is no sign of H7N9 bird flu in Thailand, calming fears after reports that two people in China had died of this lesser-known strain of the deadly virus.
- Published: 2/04/2013 at 01:04 PM
- Newspaper section: topstories
The more common H5N1 strain of avian influenza has killed more than 360 people globally since it emerged in 2003 until March 12, 2013, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO).
So far there have been two deaths reported in Shanghai from the H7N9 strain, with another person reported to be severely ill.
Pradit: Bird flu situation not worrying
The health ministry has instructed all agencies to closely monitor the situation and report back immediately if large numbers of birds die at the same time, or if any people die from unclear causes.
Public Health Minister Pradit Sinthawanarong said on Tuesday the situation with bird flu in China is not at a worrying stage for now, and currently there is no indication the outbreak has spread to Thailand.
"This virus strain has never been found in Thailand," Dr Pradit said.
"The Department of Medical Sciences has set up a laboratory-based surveillance system and mobile teams to inspect possible outbreaks around the clock."
The Bureau of Epidemiology and hospitals nationwide were keeping a close eye on patients with acute respiratory problems, pneumonia and influenza symptoms, he said.
The Department of Disease Control is working closely with local agencies, including the Livestock Department, and foreign health agencies such as the World Organisation for Animal Health, he said.
The discovery of the emergence of this new strain, which can be transmitted from animals to humans, has caused the ministry to issue a full alert. It has set up the same monitoring measures used for outbreaks of human influenza or other strains of bird flu.
Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra said the health ministry will take precautionary measures to prevent the spread of bird flu in the country.
Livestock officers spray disinfectant on open-billed stork nests in Ayutthaya's Bang Pa-in district in February, 2011. (Photo by Sunthorn Pongpao)
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- Writer: Online Reporters
- Position: Online Reporters