PHUKET: The Public Health Ministry said yesterday it had detected a suspected first case of the deadly type A (H1N1) influenza in Thailand and is awaiting confirmation of the infection from the Center for Disease Control (CDC) in the United States. The result of the CDC’s tests are expected within seven days.
No suspected cases of the type A (H1N1) virus have been found in Phuket or elsewhere in Thailand.
Public Health Minister Witthaya Kaewparadai told a press conference that monitoring by the Epidemiology Bureau in Bangkok had found 25 suspects from April 28 to Friday, most of whom had traveled to countries with outbreaks of the flu, and 15 of whom had been cleared. Ten remain in quarantine pending lab confirmation, he said.
One is suspected to have had A (H1N1), having returned from an outbreak country, but has recovered, Wittaya said. The ministry has already submitted that person’s sample to the US CDC lab because Thailand has no sample of the A (H1N1) virus to compare with for confirmation, he said.
Declining to give details of the suspect, Wittaya affirmed that the ministry had everything under control with strict measures in place to prevent the virus spreading.
Chulalongkorn University virologist Yong Poovorawan applauded the ministry’s submission of the sample to the CDC, as this was Thailand’s first suspected case.
Dr Rungrueng Kitphati, chief of the Medical Science Department’s International Health Regulation Coordination Centre, noted that samples had been sent abroad in the same way during the Sars and bird-flu scares.
The Thai Disease Control Department’s spokesman, Dr Kamnuan Ungchusak, said the patient’s samples had been sent to the US on Thursday evening.
The patient, who was well informed about the situation, had a fever on arrival in Thailand and had taken the antiviral drug Oseltamivir for five days until recovering, he added.
The ministry has been screening arrivals, especially from Mexico, the US, Canada, Spain and the UK, at Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport since April 27. By Friday it had screened 404,134 passengers.
Monitoring of arrivals by air continues, with detection scanners out in force at Bangkok, Phuket and Chiangmai airports. Scanners have ordered and will soon be in place at land borders nationwide.
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