Published on November 18, 2007
Some 800,000 health volunteers spread countrywide have been assigned to monitor sick poultry and people.
Permanent Secretary Prat Boonyawongvirot said yesterday he had urged volunteers to inform health officials immediately if any poultry perished.
"Then they'll be checked for the virus," he said.
The ministry also stressed that children should stay away from chickens or birds that fell ill or died under inexplicable circumstances.
Nakhon Sawan has witnessed suspicious mass deaths of fighting cocks in Nong-pangpuay village of Kaoliew district. Their symptoms were similar to bird flu.
Headman Yongyuth Thongchoop said officials are trying to investigate the cause of the mass deaths of chickens in the area and will destroy the carcasses.
However, villagers protested against officials who tried to get samples of dead chickens to test in the lab, because they do not want their prized possessions to be culled, he said.
Phin Khanjiek, a villager, said he wants authorities to confirm the virus infection before sacrificing his fighting cock because he had bought it at a high price.
Dr Thawat Suntrajarn, director-general of the Disease Control Department, said the Bureau of Epidemiology was monitoring 2,036 patients suffering from general flu and pneumonia admitted to hospitals across country. As of Thursday, no bird-flu cases have been reported in those patients.
And the ministry has not received any news of bird-flu infections in humans for the past 14 months, he said.
The ministry has equipped district and provincial hospitals with sterile rooms to treat bird-flu patients.
According to the latest release from the World Health Organisation, the bird-flu virus has struck people in Cambodia, China, Egypt, Indonesia, Laos, Nigeria and Vietnam this year.
WHO reported that 72 patients had come down with bird flu and 48 of them did not survive. Worst hit was Indonesia, with 33 out of 38 patients dying.