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1,134 Suspect H5N1 Thailand Cases Equal Pandemic Phase 5 or 6
October 24, 2005
From Dec 26, 2003 until Oct 23, 2005 there have been 19 confirmed cases of bird flu with 13 dead. There are currently 1,134 people suspected of being ill with bird flu. This number they collect from Jan 1 to Oct 22 of this year. These were people who had a big flu and pneumonia from provinces that are known to be infected. But we found only two people that have bird flu for absolutely certain. The first one is Mr. Bang Orn and his son seven years old. They have the place in four province and thirteen villages that found the virus. There are about eighteen province and fifty seven villages waiting for lab test results.....
Dr Suchia said that right now they don't have cases of bird flu but have the patients with high fever and inflamed lungs. For this time they are checking every day but every year they have about 70,000 to 80,000 people with inflamed lungs but for this time they are checking only patients that have contact with dead birds. For now they have no more confirmed cases of bird flu.
The above translations from two media sources in Thailand clearly show that there is a raging pandemic in the country that is being under-reported. Until last week Thailand reported no human H5N1 cases, even though there were over 1134 suspect cases and the sequence of H5N1 in 2005 was very similar to 2004 when there were human cases reported and additional lab confirmed human cases that were not reported.
These media reports are far more informative than the WHO official numbers, which are simply not credible. The WHO report from Manila indicated that H5N1 in Thailand in 2005 was similar to H5N1 in northern Vietnam, where there were also reports of widespread transmission of mild cases. These mild cases were laboratory confirmed by northern blot and PCR data, but were then retested until negative data was obtained.
These data suggest the transmission of H5N1 in northern Vietnam and Thailand raises the pandemic phase to 5 or 6, yet WHO maintains that there is limited human-to-human transmission and classifies the pandemic as phase 3.
This designation is clearly deliberately misleading. Moreover, Thailand is cited as model for control of H5N1 in humans because of no confirmed cases in 2005, yet appears to be a model for supression of reporting of human cases in and by the media.
As noted above, patients with bird flu symptoms who have no history of contact with birds are not tested for H5N1, which would prevent detection of most H5N1 cases due to human-to-human transmission.
These data indicate that WHO is not trying to monitor H5N1 in humans, only H5N1 deaths in humans. The monitoring of H5N1 in southeast Asia has clearly moved beyond scandalous.