CHIANG RAI – Thailand’s Public Health Minister Pradit Sintavanarong ordered health officials countrywide, particularly in provinces along Thai-Cambodian border to step up measures and to be on alert for the H5N1 virus, as bird flu patients were still detected in the neighbouring country.
Dr Pradit said that the seven provinces bordering Cambodia–Trat, Sa Kaeo, Chanthaburi, Buri Ram, Si Sa Ket and Ubon Ratchathani–as well as areas where the H5N1 strain had previously been detected were especially ordered to be on high alert.
Although the H5N1 pandemic has disappeared from Thailand since 2006, the spread of the deadly disease in the country remains possible, according to the minister.
As the avian flu cases have been found in Cambodia so far, particularly along the border areas, the possible spread and re-emergence may occur via the transport of poultry and travel.
Public health permanent secretary Narong Sahamethapat added that the World Health Organization (WHO) reported that from January through July 19 this year human cases of H5N1 avian influenza were found in six countries, with 17 deaths and 24 persons infected with the disease.
The six countries were Egypt, Bangladesh, China, Cambodia, Vietnam and Indonesia.
Out of these countries, Cambodia recorded the highest numbers, with 14 avian flu patients and nine fatalities.