bird flu, avian flu, pandemic

113 Suspected with Bird Flu Across Country

113 suspected with bird flu in Thailand
Test results awaited, condition ‘not worrying’

The number of patients suspected to have bird flu has reached 113 across the country and all are being kept under strict surveillance, the Public Health Ministry said. The results of laboratory tests are still awaited and until then health workers cannot say for sure how many, if any, have picked up the disease.

The ministry said 75 suspected patients were in Phichit, 14 in Sukhothai, five in Kanchanaburi, three in Nakhon Sawan, three in Suphan Buri, two each in Bangkok, Phitsanulok, and Phetchabun and one each in Kamphaeng Phet, Nakhon Nayok, Nakhon Pathom, Nonthaburi, Maha Sarakham, Uthai Thani and Uttaradit.

All were under close supervision pending test results from the Department of Medical Sciences.

The ministry played down the report, however, saying the patients’ condition was not worrisome.

Uttaradit was the latest province to be put on red alert after a patient was hospitalised.

The patient, an employee at Tha Pla Hospital, developed bird flu-like symptoms. The patient had close contact with fighting cocks.

Livestock Development Department deputy chief Sakchai Sriboonsue said the agency has distributed disinfectants, gloves, and face masks to anti-bird flu volunteers in Uttaradit as a precautionary measure.

During his field trip, Mr Sakchai found several villagers were not keeping domestic chickens in enclosed areas.

That posed the threat of a pandemic breaking out in the neighbourhood.

He also inspected fowl-quarantine checkpoints to keep an eye on the movement of poultry across provinces.

Public Health Ministry inspectors-general and health officials in 19 zones were urged to tighten control measures to prevent a possible spread.

Siriporn Katchana, an inspector-general in zone 3, urged all local health stations to keep monitoring patients who suffered from colds, developed irregular breathing and had come into contact with poultry.

She also encouraged the public to cooperate with health officials, and not to conceal health-related information.

Ms Siriporn said 20% of patients, mostly adults, failed to disclose such information about having close contact with fowl carcasses.

If the patients failed to do so, they run the risk of contracting the deadly disease, she said

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