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Bird Flu Detected in Eastern Thailand

Recombinomics Commentary
January 19, 2005

>> In Thailand, the world's fourth biggest chicken exporter before bird flu struck last year, a single chicken at an isolated house in the eastern province of Rayong had been confirmed to have been infected by the virus.

The remoteness of the Rayong house led officials to believe the chicken had been infected by wild birds, Livestock Department chief Yukol Limlaemthong said.

Migratory wild fowl, which can carry the virus without showing symptoms, are widely blamed for bringing it to Asia and experts say H5N1 is now endemic in the region. <<

Detection of bird flu in Thailand may signal another seasonal spread.  Last year reports of H5N1 infections began in Hanoi in December, but most outbreaks were not reported until January or February.  There were reports of scattered outbreaks earlier including H5N1 infected pigeons falling from the sky and forcing school closures. H5N1 was also detected in many species of wild birds in Thailand.

The spread of avian influenza has been accelerating in Vietnam and infections in nearby countries such as Laos, Cambodia, Indonesia, and China would be expected.  The reported case in eastern Thailand may be a precursor to a much wider spread of H5N1.

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