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Ciptapangan Visitor
Thailand bans poultry imports amid flu fears
posted by admin on 26/07/06

Thailand has banned poultry imports from neighbouring countries to prevent a new outbreak of bird flu.

Agriculture and Cooperatives Minister Khunying Sudarat Keyuraphan said on Monday that the ministry had ordered a total ban on importing poultry from any neighbouring country to prevent the outbreak of bird flu.

The ban was imposed after some neighbouring countries sent dead fowl samples for laboratory tests in Thailand and some samples tested positive for the virus.

Khunying Sudarat affirmed that no outbreak had been reported in areas where many fowls died of unknown causes, and some weakened and became vulnerable to bird flu virus.

The minister, however, admitted the presence of bird flu after an absence of nearly a year.

Khunying Sudarat announced that tests conducted on samples of dead fighting cocks and domestic fowls in Bangmoonnak District of the northern Phichit Province were positive.

The laboratory technicians have not yet been able to identify which strain it is.

The fighting cocks and domestic fowl sickened and died.

The lab test showed that they died of bird flu after Thailand had not confirmed the presence of avain influenza for 254 days.

The Department of Livestock Development culled the remaining 260 chickens at the site and banned the movement of poultry within a 10-kilometre radius.

Until now, there has been no report of bird flu patients in the area where the chickens died.

Avian influenza outbreaks occurred in 14 locations in Phichit in 2004 and three locations last year.

Meanwhile, Thailand's public health establishment breathed a collective sigh of relief Monday as laboatory tests confirmed that no new cases of H5N1 bird flu virus has been transmitted to humans in recent months.

No deaths have occurred since February last year and no new human bird flu cases have been found in Thailand over the past year and a half, a senior Public Health Ministry official confirmed here Monday.

Director-General of the Department of Disease Control Dr Thawat Suntrajarn said, according to laboratory tests, patients who were previously reported to have bird flu-like symtoms in many provinces had all been proven to be bird-flu free.

"The patients, including two men in Phichit, were all found not having contracted avian flu, but a strain of human influenza," he told journalists.

Dr Thawat said, however, that more public health workers would be sent to Phichit to help control the situation following an official report from the Department of Livestock Development that chickens in Bangmoonnak District were found to have contracted the H5N1 virus. (TNA)

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