MOPH confident of the ability to prevent mutant bird flu

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BANGKOK, 30 August 2011  – The Ministry of Public Health is confident that the existing preventive measures against bird flu will be able to stave off the mutant strain currently spreading in China and Vietnam. 

Previously, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) issued a warning of a mutated strain of influenza A(H5N1) or bird flu, which was discovered in China and Vietnam and was found to be resistant to drugs and vaccine. The FAO also indicated a possibility of a renewed pandemic within Asia this winter.

As a response, Permanent Secretary for Public Health MD Paijit Warachit admitted that Thailand was at risk of a bird flu outbreak due to the country’s close proximity to Vietnam. However, he noted that the preventive measures currently in use were deemed effective enough as they had been keeping the flu at bay for five consecutive years.

The Minister has instructed provincial public health offices to coordinate with the Department of Livestock Development as well as surveillance and rapid response teams nationwide on observing illnesses among local residents and poultry during this period, especially in border provinces.

According to the World Health Organization’s record during 1-30 June this year, nine people in three countries were infected with avian flu, comprising seven in Egypt and one each in Indonesia and Cambodia. Six of them passed away.