High alert against bird flu
- Published: 5/04/2013 at 08:17 PM
- Online news:
Health units nationwide have gone on high alert against the H7N9 virus, a new strain of avian influenza, after it claimed its sixth victim in China.
Health workers collect bags of dead chickens on Friday at the Huhuai wholesale market in Shanghai, where the virus outbreak has prompted a mass cull of poultry. (AFP Photo)
Narong Sahamethapat, permanent secretary for the Public Health Ministry, has held video conferences with medical units in all 77 provinces to outline precautions against the new disease.
He emphasised that health officials must be highly alert during the coming Songkran festival because there will be an influx of an estimated 700,000 tourists from around the world, including China.
Disease surveillance and rapid response teams would need to be on alert around the clock, he said on Friday.
Dr Narong stressed that the staff of medical checkpoints along borders and at tourist attractions must intensify their patient screening system.
High-risk groups such as people with severe acute respiratory infections and pneumonia need to be thoroughly checked, he added.
The Livestock, National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation departments together will collaborate in screening poultry nationwide.
Pornthep Siriwanarangsan, director-general of the Disease Control Department, advised people to avoid contact with sick or dead animals.
The World Health Organisation has confirmed that the death toll of H7N9 avian flu patients had risen to six out of a total of 14 cases on Thursday.
The number of confirmed infections rose to 16 on Friday with two new ones in Jiangsu near Shanghai, and a seven-year-old girl was quarantined in Hong Kong for tests after she returned from Shanghai and showed flu-like symptoms.
Symptoms of the H7N9 bird flu include fever, runny nose and throat itching.
There is no vaccine available yet that can treat a human infected with H7N9 virus.
No cases of human-to-human transmission have been confirmed, the health agency added.
About the author
- Writer: Paritta Wangkiat