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Friday, April 29, 2011

Thailand : Expert warns of threat from deadly bird flu

Article from Bangkok Post :

" New strain of H1N1 also active in region

A flu expert has warned that the deadly H5N1 bird flu virus strain could re-emerge in the country if stringent measures to prevent the spread of the disease are not taken.

The warning was issued yesterday at a health conference entitled ''The Emerging and Re-emerging Diseases: Situation, Lessons and Management'' held by Mahidol University.

Tawee Chotpitayasunond of the Queen Sirikit National Institute of Child Health told participants at the conference that the World Health Organisation (WHO) had reported 36 bird flu cases in humans over the past four months in four countries _ Cambodia, Bangladesh, Indonesia and Egypt.

Of the total, 16 had died and five of them were Cambodian nationals.

According to the WHO report, two of the five who died in February were a 21-year-old woman and her 11-month-old son. They had been sent for medical treatment at a hospital in Cambodia's Banteay Meanchey province, opposite Thailand's Aranyaprathet district of Sa Kaeo province. An investigation found the mother had contracted the virus from an H5N1-infected chicken she had killed and eaten.

When the deaths came to light, Thai health and livestock authorities immediately stepped up measures to prevent the spread of the disease in humans and poultry and to control the trade of eggs and poultry along the Thai-Cambodian border.

The reported number of bird flu cases in humans in the four-month period is higher than the 40 cases worldwide last year. Therefore, the prevalence of bird flu was likely to remain at least as severe as in the previous outbreak when it was at 60-70%, Dr Tawee said."

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