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Bird Flu Spread in Thailand and Tsunami Regions Is Unclear

Recombinomics Commentary
January 21, 2005

>> "A few cases of suspicious bird deaths have been found in only four lower northern provinces and the situation has been kept under control," said the Director-General of the Department of Disease Control, Dr. Thawat Suntrajarn. <<

The situation that has been kept under control has been media reports on the widespread detection of H5N1 in Thailand.  The Dec 3, 2004 report alone describes 36 outbreaks in 10 provinces resulting in the death of 12,061 birds.  However, virtually every weekly report contains several new outbreaks of H5N1 bird flu in Thailand.  The cases are not "suspicious".  They are laboratory confirmed cases of H5 or H5N1.

In spite of the widespread infections of H5N1, there are no reported human cases.  Last season there were many cases of laboratory confirmed H5N1 infections in people that did not make the official list.  The case fatality rate for the confirmed official cases was virtually the same as the unofficial confirmed cases and matched the case fatality rate in Vietnam.

This season in Vietnam there have been 8 fatalities (7 confirmed) and no discharges of confirmed cases.  The two confirmed cases in northern Vietnam initially tested negative for H5N1 suggesting the cases this season in some areas may be harder to detect. The cases in the north almost certainly involve human to human transmission.

The extent of H5N1 infections in people and poultry in Thailand and adjacent countries, including areas impacted by the tsunami, remains unclear.

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