Wednesday, 2 March 2011

Bird flu scare puts officials on high alert

via CAAI

Published: 2/03/2011
Newspaper section: News

Health authorities are on high alert for bird flu on the Thai-Cambodian border near Aranyaprathet after two Cambodians were reported to have died from the virus.

The two confirmed cases - a 21-year-old mother and an 11-month-old son - were sent to Mongkolburi Hospital in Cambodia's Banteay Meanchey province, opposite Sa Kaeo province.

An investigation found the mother slaughtered poultry to eat and developed flu-like symptoms after consuming the H5N1-infected chicken, Public Health Ministry permanent secretary Paijit Warachit said.

The mother died on Feb 13 and the son died on Feb 15, he said.

"The report of human deaths in the neighbouring country is a sign that bird flu can return to harm us without surveillance," Mr Paijit said.

He said Thai epidemiologists were closely monitoring the outbreak along the border.

The ministry had so far received no reports of sick and dead poultry in surrounding areas and in Sa Kaeo province close to the outbreak.

Health and livestock officials have stepped up operations to control trade of eggs and poultry between Cambodia and Thailand.

Wiboon Srimankongtham, chief of the livestock quarantine unit in Sa Kaeo, said officials seized more than 2,500 eggs and five chickens a Cambodian villager had smuggled in from Poi Pet yesterday morning. The eggs and chicken would be buried to prevent possible spread of the bird flu virus.

The World Health Organisation reported on Monday bird flu had claimed three lives in Cambodia since January.

A total of 310 deaths and 525 cases were confirmed in 15 countries during a series of bird flu outbreaks from 2004-2006.

Thailand has had no reports of bird flu cases in humans since July 2006.

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