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August 07, 2006

A third suspected case in Thailand

Via ThaiDay: Third suspected human bird-flu case reported. Excerpts of an important story:

A 19-year-old chicken farm worker in Uthai Thani province who buried dead birds without wearing proper protection has been put under hospital surveillance and is suspected of being the third person infected with bird flu in Thailand in the past two weeks, after a second man was confirmed to have died of the disease in the same province over the weekend.

According to caretaker Health Minister Phinij Jarusombat, who inspected bird flu-infected areas in Uthai Thani province yesterday, the latest victim fell sick last Thursday and was admitted to Uthai Thani provincial hospital on Saturday. The results of tests to verify whether the unidentified man is actually infected with the deadly H5N1 virus are expected to be known today.

Phinij said the man, who was working on a chicken farm with 20,000 birds in Uthai Thani’s Muang district, might have contracted the disease after burying dead birds late last month while not wearing protective gear.

The minister said he had given strict instructions to about 800,000 public health volunteers throughout the country to inform villagers to exercise extreme caution when handling dead birds.

“Villagers should not handle dead birds. But if they have to, they must wear rubber gloves or several layers of plastic bags…and they must absolutely not eat any sick or dead birds,” Phinij said.

ries its real sting in the tail (my bolding):
Public Health permanent secretary Dr Prat Boonyawongvirot said in light of the latest outbreak in Uthai Thani, the provincial hospital there has now been equipped with special facilities to handle suspected bird flu patients and test for the virus. He added that public health volunteers had been instructed to monitor the symptoms of any unwell villagers and report their findings every morning.

Dr Prat added that the ministry would no longer issue daily reports on suspected patients who are under medical surveillance as there are too many of them and the list of names changes daily. He said the ministry will only issue announcements when bird flu or serious human influenza cases are confirmed.

Meanwhile, the director general of the Disease Control Department, Dr Thawat Suntrajarn, said Bangkok-based medical experts met with provincial doctors yesterday and mapped out plans to speed up the handling of suspected human bird-flu cases.

Patients suffering from fever and cough who are known to have handled sick or dead birds will be given oseltamivir phosphate, a generic version of Roche Pharmaceuticals’ Tamiflu that is now being produced locally, even if initial tests are negative, he said.

According to Dr Thawat, 80 people, mainly Uthai Thani provincial hospital staff or villagers living in the vicinity of the second victim, are currently undergoing 14 days of medical surveillance after receiving the local version of Tamiflu.

rities foresee a public-relations disaster if they have to keep us informed about scores of cases. And they evidently worry about possible human-to-human transmission via the young man who died recently.

Posted by dymaxion at August 7, 2006 09:38 PM

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