DDC enhances avian flu surveillance after US cases

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The first US case was identified in Texas on April 1, followed by a second in Michigan on May 22 and despite these occurrences, Dr Thongchai affirmed that Thailand faces a low risk of similar outbreaks, as the country does not import dairy cows from the US.

The Department of Disease Control (DDC) is intensifying its surveillance efforts for avian influenza following reports of human infections in the United States. DDC Director-General Dr Thongchai Keeratihattayakorn announced on Sunday that the recent H5N1 human cases in the US highlight the need for vigilant monitoring, especially since these cases involved transmission from mammals, specifically infected cows.



The first US case was identified in Texas on April 1, followed by a second in Michigan on May 22. Despite these occurrences, Dr Thongchai affirmed that Thailand faces a low risk of similar outbreaks, as the country does not import dairy cows from the US. He noted that the country’s last significant bird flu outbreak occurred in 2004, and since then, robust monitoring systems involving the Department of Livestock Development and the Department of National Parks, Wildlife, and Plant Conservation have been in place.

The DDC is also collaborating with US health authorities to track bird flu infections in animals and humans. Enhanced surveillance measures include monitoring international passengers for flu-like symptoms and planning discussions with conservation bodies to bolster public health defenses.




Dr Apichart Vachirapan, deputy director-general of the DDC, reminded the public that while Thailand has not seen domestic avian flu cases for years, vigilance is crucial. He advised the public to avoid contact with sick or dead birds, practice good hygiene, such as washing hands after contact with animals, and ensure poultry and eggs are well-cooked. He also stressed the importance of immediately reporting to livestock authorities in cases of unusual bird and poultry fatalities. (NNT)