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Bird Flu Spreading in Thailand

Recombinomics Commentary
January 20, 2005

>> Thailand reported its first outbreaks of deadly bird flu this year, prompting the government to declare a high alert nationwide, as nearby Vietnam probes what may be a sixth human death from the disease since December.

In Thailand's eastern province of Rayong, scientists found the H5N1 strain, which can be deadly to humans, in at least 13 fighting cocks. In the northern province of Phitsanulok, 50 chickens were confirmed to have the disease, according to a statement on the Thai livestock department's Web site. <<

The number of H5N1 bird flu outbreaks in Thailand is spreading.  Yesterday there was a report of 1 positive chicken in eastern Thailand.  The number of positive birds reported today is markedly higher.  There were earlier reports of infections in pigeons and wild birds, but avian influenza is seasonal and the latest pattern of infections in Thailand may be a precursor to more dramatic spread that has been reported in Vietnam for people, pets, and poultry.

Thailand was the only other country reporting fatal human cases.  A follow-up report indicated that many human cases were not officially recorded in Thailand last year.  The case fatality ratio was about 70% last season for official and unofficial confirmed cases in Thailand as well as confirmed cases in Vietnam.  This season, all six confirmed cases in southern Vietnam have died.

Thailand and neighboring countries should be on high alert for human and animal cases of avian influenza.

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