PHUKET: Following reports that the deadly Nipah virus is making a comeback in northern Malaysia, Phuket’s health chief today sought to allay worries that the disease may spread to southern Thailand, including Phuket. Dr Boonrieng Chuchaisangrat, Chief of the Phuket Provincial Health Office told the Gazette, “So far, there have been no reports of anyone in the country getting this disease. Thailand is completely safe from this virus.” Like HIV, the Nipah virus is believed to be transmitted through contact with bodily fluids, especially blood or urine, said Dr Boonrieng, so the only people possibly at risk in Phuket would be workers on pig farms. But even these people shouldn’t have much to worry about, he said, because Health Office and Livestock Office officials have been cracking down on the smuggling of pigs from Malaysia. “The situation in Phuket is under control because our pork products are not imported from Malaysia,” he said. “We don’t use any imported pork.” Niphat Rungruan, Chief of the Phuket Livestock Office, confirmed that no pigs are being imported into Phuket from Malaysia. “They all come from Phang Nga, Ranong or Prajuab Khirikhan,” he said. Dr Boonrieng added a final piece of advice: “If people eat properly cooked pork, they should have no problems.” People infected with the Nipah virus, which killed dozens of people in Malaysia last year, initially show signs of drowsiness and fever. Fluctuating blood pressure and very high body temperature accompany the later stages of the disease. Victims may fall into a coma which in some cases ends in death There is currently no cure for the disease.
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