Phitsanulok (AsiaNews) – Concern over the H5N1 virus and the bird flu remains high in
Thawat Suntracharn, director-general of
Tests are also being carried out in every farm within a five kilometre (three miles) radius. Poultry within a ten kilometre radius cannot be moved for the next 30 days
Phitsanulok province has a humid climate and is an ideal place for the virus, which has previously been reported in the area.
At least 22 people have already shown flu symptoms but tests exclude it is of the avian kind.
Concern is growing though because of the approaching Chinese New Year (which falls on February 18 this year), when all Thais of Chinese origin are likely to eat poultry-based dishes.
The CDC is inspecting all slaughter houses to prevent outbreaks. In Phitsanulok health care workers will go house to house to check for people showing bird flu-like symptoms. Should there be other cases emerge, they should show up be within a month.
Some 500 cats were tested and about 20 per cent were found to carry the virus. This shows that it is evolving and that there is a possibility that the virus might be able to affect humans not only through poultry but also through cats.
Cats, Nidom explained, are much closer to humans than birds, but further studies are needed before one can be sure whether they can pass on the disease or not.
Tested cats were eventually released.
Tests are currently under way for a man in
Should it be proven that direct contagion is possible between relatives, this would confirm the theory that transmission is easier between genetically-related individuals.
For Michael Osterholm, from the University of Minnesota (US), this might be the first sign of the pandemic.
Hisanori Ogura, a local health care official, said that the measure taken was only meant to prevent contagion. He added that nothing similar was reported from other farms.