Phuket not on Bird Flu risk list

BANGKOK / PHUKET (The Nation): The Public Health Ministry has listed 14 provinces as being at risk from a reappearance of the H5N1 bird flu virus.

“The cool weather provides a good environment for it,” said Deputy Permanent Secretary Dr Paijit Warachit.

He named Bangkok, Nonthaburi, Pathum Thani, Ayutthaya, Lop Buri, Chai Nat, Prachin Buri, Nakhon Nayok, Suphan Buri, Kanchanaburi, Nakhon Ratchasima, Chaiyaphum, Khon Kaen and Nong Bua Lamphu. No southern Thai provinces, including Phuket, are seen at risk.

Paijit said he had instructed health officers, each of whom is known as “Mr Bird Flu” across the country, to monitor for avian flu and infection in humans, especially in provinces where the virus has appeared frequently in the past.

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He said the ministry was bringing in stricter controls, even though the H5N1 infection in humans has not been reported in Thailand for three years.

Measures include rapid detection and reporting of infection, rapid primary spreading control, sampling, containment training, laboratory preparation and promulgation of information on prevention.

The World Health Organization says 61 countries are currently infected. In contemporary history, Thailand has seen 25 human cases, of which 17 were fatal.

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