Another Thai province reports H5N1 outbreak

Nov 13, 2008 (CIDRAP News) – Officials in Thailand said today that H5N1 avian influenza struck poultry in Uthai Thani, the second province to report the virus in less than a week.

Sakchai Sriboonsue, director-general of the province's livestock department, said laboratory tests detected the H5N1 virus in chickens from a backyard farm after several of the birds died, according to a report today from the Associated Press. Uthai Thani is in northern Thailand.

On Nov 11, Thai officials reported an outbreak in Sukhothai province, the country's first in about 10 months. Sukhothai is located north of Uthai Thani.

In their report to the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) detailing that outbreak, Thai authorities said five birds at the affected household were first thought to have died from Escherichia coli infections and intestinal parasites. However, samples submitted to the National Veterinary Laboratory in Bangkok revealed the H5N1 virus. The report said authorities were still investigating the source of the virus.

Yesterday media outlets in Thailand reported more potential outbreaks in Sukothai province. The Bangkok Post reported that livestock officials discovered the virus on a fighting cock farm in Sawankhalok in the northern part of the province. Initial tests confirmed the birds were infected with an avian influenza virus, but officials were awaiting the results of tests to identify the strain. The Post report said no bird deaths were reported at the farm.

Also, The Nation, a Bangkok newspaper, reported that the virus had spread to another farm in Sawankhalok district, killing 30 chickens. Public health officials buried the dead birds, sent samples for testing, disinfected the village, and targeted 385 chickens from nearby farms for culling, according to the report.

In other developments, Thailand's public health ministry today put nine northern provinces under special watch for avian influenza, according to Xinhua, China's state news agency. The Post listed the provinces as Phitsanulok, Tak, Phetchabun, Sukhothai, Uttaradit, Nakhon Sawan, Uthai Thani, Kamphaeng Phet, and Phichit.

Officials also told hospitals in the provinces not to wait for lab test results before treating patients who have suspected H5N1 infections or who live in areas where birds have died, Xinhua reported.

Elsewhere, a local newspaper in Vietnam, Liberty Saigon, reported that the People's Committee in Nghe An province, in the central part of the country, confirmed that H5N1 struck about 1,000 birds at the Dien Hong commune, according to a report yesterday from Xinhua.

In early October the same province reported that the virus hit about 300 ducks at a small farm, according to earlier reports.

See also:

Nov 10 OIE report

Nov 10 CIDRAP News story "H5N1 hits poultry in Thailand"

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