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July 27, 2006

Thailand: PM blames flu outbreak on villagers

Via the Bangkok Post: PM blames flu outbreak on villagers. Excerpt:

Caretaker Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra yesterday blamed the fresh outbreak of bird flu in Phichit on alleged attempts by villagers to cover up suspected cases, while the Agriculture and Cooperatives Ministry acknowledged the need to improve its surveillance system.

Mr Thaksin said some villagers tried to cover up suspected bird flu cases for fear their fowls would be culled en masse.

Many poultry raisers in Phichit, the epicentre of the latest spread of bird flu, did not register their fowls with the provincial authority, and when their birds died of unknown causes they disposed of the carcasses themselves, he said.

Those villagers, therefore, exposed themselves to the risk of infection by the deadly virus, Mr Thaksin added.

es on to name the victim—Yongyuth Daenmisi—and describes the circumstances of his death:
According to the Public Health Ministry press release, Yongyuth developed a high fever with headaches on July 15, a week after he buried 10 dead chickens with his bare hands. He was hospitalised with flu-like and haemorrhagic symptoms four days later, but tested negative for bird flu then.

Thiravat Hemachudha, a neurologist at Chulalongkorn Hospital, criticised the authorities' heavy reliance on local volunteers without sufficient efforts to raise people's awareness of the disease on a continuous basis.

The case in which doctors failed to detect the deadly virus in Yongyuth showed there was a lack of awareness in his community, Dr Thiravat said.

a href= "http://www.nationmultimedia.com/2006/07/27/headlines/headlines_30009688.php">The Nation covers the same story and adds some details—including mention of yet another suspected human case:
Three blood tests by Phitsanulok Medical Science Centre had previously been negative for bird flu. The teenager's blood count showed he had dengue fever before yesterday's final test also confirmed H5N1.

On Tuesday, the Department of Livestock Development (DLD) said the H5N1 virus had been detected in poultry in Phichit.

All three people in the dead teenager's family have been receiving anti-viral drug Tamiflu. Pinij said that although they were in a healthy condition, public-health authorities would keep an eye on them for 14 days.

Meanwhile, Tap Klo Hospital in Phichit's Tap Klo district yesterday admitted a 9-year-old boy with symptoms similar to bird flu. Doctors are now awaiting the results of tests. The 17-year-old who died was also a resident of Thab Khlo district.

Posted by dymaxion at July 27, 2006 10:06 PM

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