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More Bird Flu Outbreaks in Thailand

Recombinomics Commentary
January 28, 2005

>> Meanwhile, news of a bird-flu outbreak emerged Thursday in the northeastern province of Uttaradit, and more than 100 chickens have been culled.

"We`ve already declared Uttaradit an outbreak province," said Panom Meesiriphan the province`s acting livestock chief. <<

The above comment adds to the number of H5N1 outbreaks reported this month in Thailand.  The most recent OIE report ending Jan 27, 2005 descibes two new outbreaks, one beginning Jan 15 in the Muang district of Phitsanulok Province and another beginning Jan 19 in the Bang Chang district of Rayong Province.  The Jan 21 report included two other outbreaks in Phistanlok Province.  The Jan 14 report was on another outbreak in Rayong Province.  However, the multiple outbreaks reported on Jan 7 had the largest number of poultry that died or was culled.  Of note was the outbreak in the Muang district that began Dec 27, 2004.  Although none of the birds died, all 19,000 were culled, raising concerns of asymptomatic birds in Thailand also.

The report was similar to the Jan 7 report from Vietnam.  In Can Tho there were no deaths, yet all 1,481 birds were destroyed.  Follow-up media reports described large numbers of ducks that were positive for H5N1, yet showed no symptoms.  The Vietnam report described just over 7,000 birds that died or were culled between Dec 24, 2004 and Jan 4, 2005.  The number of birds that died or were killed in Vietnam has grown dramatically, with over 800,000 culled this month.

Genetically, the H5N1 from Thailand and Vietnam last season had many polymorphisms in common that were not found elsewhere.  They also had the only reported human H5N1 fatalities with rates of about 70% in each country.  This season there have been 10 confirmed fatal cases in Vietnam, including several clusters.  These similarities are causes for concern about H5N1 avian influenza spreading in Thailand and nearby regions hit by the tsunami.

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