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Killer bird flu virus erupts again in Thailand

by 5m Editor
11 July 2005, at 12:00am

THAILAND - The deadly bird flu virus which has killed 55 Asians has erupted again in Thailand despite a major campaign to eradicate it, the government said on Monday. Infected fowl were found this month in five places of three districts in Suphanburi province, 100 km (60 miles) north of Bangkok, during follow-up inspections of previously affected areas, a senior Agriculture Ministry official said.

Killer bird flu virus erupts again in Thailand - THAILAND - The deadly bird flu virus which has killed 55 Asians has erupted again in Thailand despite a major campaign to eradicate it, the government said on Monday. Infected fowl were found this month in five places of three districts in Suphanburi province, 100 km (60 miles) north of Bangkok, during follow-up inspections of previously affected areas, a senior Agriculture Ministry official said.

The discoveries reinforced warnings by international health bodies about how difficult it will be to eliminate the H5N1 virus now it has become endemic in parts of Asia.

"Infected fowl are living longer due to increasing immunity," Yukol Limlaemthong, head of the ministry's livestock department told Reuters, meaning it was less likely that unusual deaths would alert farmers to the possibility of infection.

"We have to make examinations all the time in a bid to stop fresh outbreaks," he added.

Twelve Thais have died after being infected by the virus, but there have been no reports of human infections since October in the country, the world's fourth-biggest chicken exporter before H5N1 struck.

However, 19 people have died in Vietnam since December, when the virus returned, taking the country's toll to 39.

Four Cambodians have also died of the disease which first rolled across much of Asia in late 2003, probably brought by migrating wild fowl.

At first the virus appeared to thrive best in the cooler months around the end of the year but the recent outbreaks in Vietnam and Thailand during the hot season back up expert fears of its adaptability.

The World Health Organization says that what it fears most is that the H5N1 virus, which does not move easily between people, could develop the ability through mutation to sweep through human populations.

The world would then face a pandemic without immunity to the strain and millions of people could die.



Source: Reuters - 11th July 2005

5m Editor