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  1. #1
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    Ayutthaya - Bird flu watch

    Bird flu watch centres on Ayutthaya

    Sunthon Pongpao and Maleena Doloh

    Ayutthaya province has been put under bird flu surveillance following the mass deaths of free-range ducks in Bang Pahan district. More than 1,500 ducks were culled by local livestock officials yesterday after 93 of the birds in the same flock died on Thursday from a still-undetermined cause.
    The owner, Samroeng Kaewchalermthong, said the ducks were raised in a paddy field which was also a feeding ground of waterbirds.

    Dead duck samples were collected and sent for lab testing.

    Seven duck raisers in the district have fallen ill with flu-like symptoms. They are now on the watchlist of the provincial public health office.

    Also, a villager who helped bury the dead ducks was admitted to Bang Pahan hospital after he developed a high fever and sore throat.

    The Livestock Development Department has listed Ayutthaya as one of the areas prone to bird flu. Poultry raised in the province were found to be in poor health following severe flooding late last year. The floods also increased the risk of an outbreak of animal disease, officials said.

    Nopporn Kaewkarn, chief of the provincial livestock office, said movements of free-range ducks from the neighbouring province of Suphan Buri to Ayutthaya had increased the possibility of a fresh bird flu outbreak in the province.

    According to him, Suphan Buri farmers always bring their ducks to roam paddy fields in Ayutthaya after the harvest season so they could feed on fallen seed and grain.

    Ayutthaya governor Cherdphan na Songkhla yesterday imposed a ban on fowl movements from Suphan Buri.

    Checkpoints have been set up along roads linking the two provinces to prevent such movements.

    Meanwhile, the Public Health Ministry yesterday reported that six villagers from tambon Plai Chumpol, in Phitsanulok province, where a fresh bird flu outbreak was confirmed on Monday, have been put on the bird flu watchlist.

    They were in good condition, except a 29-year-old man and a 13-year-old boy who were admitted to hospital with high fever, said Somyos Charoensak, deputy permanent secretary for public health.

    Initial lab tests showed they tested positive for influenza. However, more tests were needed to find out if they were infected with the H5N1 strain.

    Doctors have already given the anti-flu drug Tamiflu to the 29-year-old man, said Dr Somyos.

    The ministry also said that bird flu was not likely to have caused the death of a Vietnamese crewman in Samut Prakan province on Jan 14. However, test results have yet to come out.

    Bangkok Post

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    Poultry movements banned in all 16 districts as mass bird cull gets underway

    Disaster zones declared


    Poultry movements banned in all 16 districts as mass bird cull gets underway

    By Sunthorn Pongpao Apiradee Treerutkuarkul
    All 16 districts in this central province have been declared disaster zones to help public health authorities with the mass culling of poultry in bird flu-prone areas.

    A ban on fowl movements throughout the province, especially free-range ducks from other provinces, has also been enforced.



    Provincial Governor Cherdpan na Songkhla, who issued the order yesterday, said areas where bird flu had previously been confirmed, such as Bang Pahan, Phak Hai and Bang Pa-in districts, were still at risk because the virus remained dormant in water resources and residential areas.



    Provincial health official Rattanachai Chullanet said the latest laboratory tests showed that Boonlert Chuenruedee, 43, a free-range duck raiser, was not infected with bird flu virus after he helped bury dead ducks and later developed a high fever and sore throat.



    Deputy permanent secretary for agriculture Yukol Limlamthong said Thailand should be on alert for a possible outbreak spreading into the kingdom from neighbouring countries.



    To prevent a possible new outbreak of the deadly H5N1 virus, the Agriculture and Cooperatives Ministry has sought cooperation from the Customs Department to monitor and ban the import of poultry and breeding equipment from neighbouring countries hit by avian influenza.

    As the Agriculture and Cooperatives Ministry steps up its guard against bird flu, public health authorities are considering a new partner in China to jointly develop influenza vaccines.



    Public Health Minister Mongkol na Songkhla and senior health officials decided to look for a new Chinese biotechnology firm which could provide better technology and a larger production capacity than Sinovac Biotech, a Chinese firm previously targeted for the job.



    ''We would like to make sure that we get the best technology for research and development of a vaccine. We need to think thoroughly before making a decision to sign a contract with any firm,'' Dr Mongkol said after returning from China last week.



    The Public Health Ministry previously planned to work with Sinovac Biotechnology, which has the potential to transfer technological know-how which could help vaccine development.

    The company planned to construct a vaccine manufacturing plant in Saraburi or a Livestock Development Department plant in Nakhon Ratchasima capable of producing up to two million doses of human flu vaccine a year by 2009.

    The minister said any cooperation with the Chinese biotechnology firm regarding vaccine development would be carried out under a government-to-government framework which needed final approval from the prime minister.



    However, he accepted that the decision to find a new partner could set back preparations for a possible flu pandemic as it could take up to four years to finalise the blueprint for a plant after signing a contract with a firm.



    He was worried that delays to plans to manufacture millions of doses of the vaccine could hamper Thailand's opportunity to receive international funding for bird flu research and development from the World Health Organisation (WHO).

    The WHO will choose which country to grant the budget to on Feb 14. The health agency last month sent a proposal to request grants from the WHO-organised Pledging Fund, contributed to by richer nations such as the United States and Japan. If approved, Thailand could receive up to 80 million baht for developing the flu vaccine plant. Six countries _ Thailand, Brazil, India, Indonesia, Mexico and Vietnam _ have been shortlisted for the programme.



    Dr Mongkol in October called for a rethink of plans to vaccinate animals developed after the country faced a series of avian flu outbreaks since 2004. He said the virus had mutated and it was difficult to diagnose the symptoms in new human fatalities.



    The bird flu policy committee, chaired by Deputy Prime Minister Kosit Panpiemras, will make a decision on limited vaccine use in bird flu-plagued areas on Jan 29.



    However, virologist Prasert Thongcharoen said a thorough study on the effectiveness of animal vaccines used in neighbouring countries such as Vietnam and Indonesia was essential before undertaking the measure here.

    Such a study was necessary to find out if the vaccine could reduce the transmission of the virus from both animals to animals and animals to humans, he said.
    Bird flu was still rife in Vietnam and Indonesia despite their animal vaccination policies, he said.

    Bangkok Post

  3. #3
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    Sad state of affairs

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    Bangkok may ban chicken slaughters

    Bangkok may ban chicken slaughters

    (BangkokPost.com, TNA)

    All five chicken slaughterhouses in Bangkok's Chinatown area may be forced to become markets for meat prepared away from the capital, as part of a campaign against the spread of avian flu.

    Meanwhile, health officials in Nong Khai some 615 kilometres northeast of Bangkok on the Mekong River border with Laos, have culled more than 2,000 poultry suspected to have been stricken with the deadly avian influenza.

    Samphanthawong district director Prasert Intusoma, who supervises the Yaowaraj (Chinatown) area, said he met owners of the five poultry slaughterhouses last week, to warn them birds might have to be sent to more hygienic slaughterhouses on the outskirts of Bangkok for slaughter, away from packed Chinatown.

    The meat then would be transported into Bangkok for sale at what are now the slaughterhouses.

    Bangkok deputy governor Wanlop Suwandee said the city is flu-free at the moment.

    The Bangkok Metropolitan Administration has been monitoring areas where bird flu had spread earlier as well as areas on the outskirts of Bangkok where fighting cocks are raised.

    A total of 230 chickens at a farm in Si Chiang Mai district of Nong Khai died of unknown causes on Saturday, forcing the provincial authorities to later cull some 2,000 chickens at the farm. Another 60 chickens raised by villagers living near the farm were also destroyed.

    Nong Khai governor Supot Laowansiri said the change in the weather could be one reason for the chickens at the farm to have died unnaturally.

    Governor Supot said lab tests on the dead chickens could be known within three days.

    No new human cases of bird flu have been reported, authorities said. A family in Phitsanulok province has been hospitalised with the virus.

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    Suspected bird-flu case in Ayutthaya turns negative

    Suspected bird-flu case in Ayutthaya turns negative


    A 43-year-old Ayutthaya free-range duck herder has tested negative for the deadly H5N1 strain of bird flu, the Public Health Ministry said Sunday.

    The laboratory-test results released Sunday have calmed fears. About 100 of the man's birds died and he, too, fell ill with flu-like symptoms.

    He has been isolated and treated at a hospital in Bang Pahan where doctors describe his condition as good, according to Medical Science Department director-general Dr Paijit Warachit.

    Checks on residents near the man's home will continue for 10 days as stipulated by the ministry, he said.

    The Nation

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    Ayutthaya - Girl, 4, has bird-flu symptoms

    Girl, 4, has bird-flu symptoms


    A four-year-old girl in Ayutthaya was hospitalised yesterday with symptoms that could be associated with bird flu, prompting health concerns throughout the central province.




    "She has high fever and a lung infection," Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya Hospital director Veeraphol Thiraphancharoen said.

    However, initial lab results showed the girl had tested negative for bird flu.

    Following the girl's hospitalisation, Ayutthaya Governor Cherdphan na Songkhla immediately ordered public-health officials and health volunteers to check local people in every village. The close surveillance of humans will continue for the next 14 days, while the surveillance on fowls will continue for 30 days.

    Public Health Minister Mongkol na Songkhla yesterday said his ministry's stock of bird-flu medicine was enough to treat up to 80,000 human patients.

    He was speaking after visiting a 43-year-old resident of Ayutthaya at the Bang Pahan Hospital. The man was initially suspected of having bird flu. However, lab tests confirmed the man had not contracted the deadly virus and he would be able to return home soon.

    As of press time, Phitsanulok public-health chief Dr Thawatchai Kamontham reported that a 62-year-old patient was on the bird-flu watch list because she had developed high fever after being in contact with dead fowls.

    In Ubon Ratchathani, a patient was put on the bird-flu watch list pending lab test results.

    According to Livestock Development Department director-general Pirom Srijan, the country had detected bird-flu infections only in Phitsanulok's Muang district this year.

    So far, he said, suspicious mass deaths of fowls were reported from January 15 till yesterday in three areas - Phitsanulok's Wat Bote district, Ayutthaya's Bang Pahan district and Nong Khai's Si Chiang Mai district.
    During the period, more than 3,700 birds had been culled.

    The Nation

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