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Travellers urged to monitor for symptoms of bird flu


Suvarnabhumi airport welcomes an influx of tourists on February 6. Thailand has had no reports of bird flu in humans, according to the Department of Disease Control, but authorities suggest people returning from areas where there has been an H5N2 outbreak should self-monitor. (Photo: Somchai Poomlard)
Suvarnabhumi airport welcomes an influx of tourists on February 6. Thailand has had no reports of bird flu in humans, according to the Department of Disease Control, but authorities suggest people returning from areas where there has been an H5N2 outbreak should self-monitor. (Photo: Somchai Poomlard)

Thailand has had no reports of bird flu in humans, according to the Department of Disease Control, but authorities suggest people returning from areas where there has been an H5N2 outbreak should self-monitor.

Travellers entering Thailand from an outbreak area have been told by the authorities to watch out for irregular respiratory symptoms within 14 days of arrival and to contact a doctor immediately if they experience any such symptoms.

Disease control chief Dr Thongchai Keeratihattayakorn said Thailand has been free of bird flu cases in humans since 2006.

However, agencies, including the Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation and the Department of Livestock, have been working closely to monitor any outbreaks among animals, he said.

Urgent responsive measures are in place in case an outbreak is detected, said Dr Thongchai, adding that the Department of Medical Sciences and the Department of Livestock have laboratory systems to test for the H5N2 viral strain.

He said that the first fatality from Avian Influenza A (H5N2) was confirmed earlier this month by the World Health Organization (WHO).

The WHO said a 59-year-old man in Mexico died on April 24 after suffering from breathing difficulties, diarrhoea, vomiting and flu symptoms.

The man was reported also to have chronic kidney disease, diabetes and high blood pressure but had not been in contact with fowls.

Investigators found that a bird flu outbreak was reported in the man’s area in March. The man was the world’s first human to have contracted the H5N2 variant.

However, the WHO has said the risk to the public from this particular virus is low.



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