Infectious Diseases 2006

Infectious Diseases 2006

Thailand: new outbreak of avian influenza

24 July, 2006

Thailand is facing its first outbreak of H5N1 avian influenza in birds in 8 months, along with flu-like illnesses in a number of people in areas with sick birds, according to news services.
The eight-month avian influenza-free hiatus in Thailand ended yesterday as the Agriculture and Cooperatives Ministry confirmed a fresh outbreak of the H5N1 virus in Bang Mun Nak district (Pichit province).
The ministry had repeatedly denied avian influenza had recurred but eventually verified the outbreak yesterday.
The Livestock Development Department's lab detected the avian influenza virus in a fighting cock carcass from Bang Mun Nak district. This was where almost 300 fowls had been culled after the mysterious deaths of around 30 fighting cocks and free-range chickens two weeks ago, caretaker Agriculture Minister Sudarat Keyuraphan told a press conference.
Outgoing senator Nirun Phitakwatchara, who earlier accused the ministry of covering up the re-emergence of bird influenza for fear the country's poultry exports would be hit, called on Khunying Sudarat to resign to take responsibility for mismanagement of avian influenza monitoring and delayed confirmation of the outbreak.
Dr. Nirun claimed that local livestock officials told him that the H5N1 virus had been detected over a week ago, but the ministry had covered it up.
Meanwhile, a number of suspected human cases of avian influenza have been reported.