Apr 12, 2004 (CIDRAP News) – Two new outbreaks of avian influenza forced Thailand last week to further postpone plans to declare the country free of the disease, according to news service reports.
The latest outbreaks were in Chon Buri province, southeast of Bangkok, and Khon Kaen province, in the northeast, according to the Bangkok Post and Agence France-Presse (AFP).
Authorities destroyed 11,326 layer hens to contain the two outbreaks, according to the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE). The OIE listed the virus subtype as H5.
The outbreak in Khon Kaen was discovered Mar 25 and the Chon Buri outbreak was detected Apr 7, according to the AFP report. Both provinces had previous outbreaks of H5N1 avian flu.
Deputy Agriculture Minister Newin Chidchob said that if no more outbreaks occur, Thailand could declare the crisis over on Apr 27, according to AFP.
The Post's Apr 10 report said Thailand's agriculture ministry had planned several times before to declare the end of the avian flu crisis but had to postpone the declaration each time because of new outbreaks.
Newin acknowledged that his ministry had failed to keep the public informed about new outbreaks in the past 3 months, according to the Post story. Newin apologized, saying authorities were "too busy to disclose the information," the report said. But Newin also said each new outbreak was reported to major poultry importers within 24 hours of confirmation.
The AFP report said Thailand has destroyed at least 36 million chickens and other birds in the battle to stop H5N1 avian flu, which has affected 41 of 76 provinces. The country has had 12 human cases with eight deaths.
Apr 9 OIE report of Thai outbreaks