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06BANGKOK4792 THAILAND’S SECOND HUMAN AVIAN INFLUENZA DEATH IN THE PAST TWO WEEKS

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“73981”,”8/7/2006 23:34″,”06BANGKOK4792″,

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E.O. 12958: N/A

TAGS: TBIO, EAGR, KFLU, PGOV, SOCI, TH

SUBJECT: THAILAND\’S SECOND HUMAN AVIAN INFLUENZA DEATH IN

THE PAST TWO WEEKS

 

REF: A. BANGKOK 4530 B. BANGKOK 4612 C. BANGKOK 4613

 

BANGKOK 00004792 001.4 OF 004

 

1. (U) Summary: Thailand\’s Ministry of Public Health (MOPH)

confirmed by laboratory testing that a second human avian

influenza death in as many weeks occurred on August 3 in

Uthaithani, a province in west-central Thailand. Testing of

veterinary samples from the man\’s home returned negative

results, prompting an exchange of barbs between officials

from the Department of Livestock Development (DLD) and MOPH.

On August 6, livestock officials culled 20,000 chickens on a

poultry farm in another district of Uthaithani Province after

200 chickens reportedly died there en masse. Meanwhile, on

July 31, DLD veterinary laboratory testing did detect H5N1

avian influenza in a poultry outbreak in Nakhon Phanom

Province in Thailand\’s far northeast. End Summary.

 

Thailand\’s Second Human Avian Influenza Death in 2006

——————————————— ——–

2. (U) Dr. Thawat Suntrajarn, the Director-General of the

MOPH\’s Department of Disease Control, told Bangkok-based CDC

personnel that Thailand\’s second human influenza death of the

year was a 27-year-old patient admitted to the Uthaithani

provincial hospital on July 30 with fever and shortness of

breath. He died at the hospital on August 3. (Thailand\’s

first human avian influenza death of 2006 occurred on July

24. See Ref A.) The 27-year-old reportedly had buried a

dead chicken in his backyard on July 17. Laboratory tests

for avian influenza undertaken at the hospital were

inconclusive, but the results of Polymerase Chain Reaction

(PCR) DNA testing on specimens sent to both the Thai National

Institute of Health and Bangkok\’s Siriraj hospital on August

 

BANGKOK 00004792 002.2 OF 004

 

5 were positive for H5N1 avian influenza.

 

3. (U) On August 7, the Bangkok Post reported that veterinary

samples taken from both dead and live chickens at the man\’s

home all tested negative. The article quoted Kamnuan

Ungchusak, Director of MOPH\’s Bureau of Epidemiology as

saying, \”I\’m not surprised that the (DLD\’s) test could not

find the H5N1 virus in poultry samples from the house because

the test was conducted long after the man was infected by the

virus, and most of the chickens were already dead.\”

 

4. (U) The article quoted the DLD\’s Disease Control Bureau

Director Nirundorn Aungtragoolsuk as saying, \”Since the H5N1

bird flu virus was not detected at the victim\’s house and in

the nearby vicinity, public health officials should find out

how and where the man contracted the virus.\”

 

5. (SBU) The frustration expressed by these officials to the

Bangkok Post hints at a deeper tension between MOPH and the

Ministry of Agriculture\’s DLD. Privately, MOPH officials

have expressed to us in harsher words a growing frustration

with DLD. Theoretically, surveillance of poultry should be

the first indicator of the presence of H5N1, leading to

increased public health surveillance of humans in

poultry-affected areas. But in Thailand, just the opposite

scenario is occurring – detection of H5N1 in humans is

preceding reports of H5N1 in poultry. To be fair, in

comparison to MOPH, the DLD has less manpower, less

experience, and less funding to conduct disease surveillance.

DLD is also frustrated that farmers continue to neglect

reporting or even hide poultry deaths from officials, causing

 

BANGKOK 00004792 003.2 OF 004

 

them to arrive too late on the scene to obtain good

laboratory specimens.

 

Poultry Die-Off in Uthaithani Province…

—————————————–

6. (U) The Bangkok Post also reported on August 7 that DLD

officials culled approximately 20,000 chickens on a farm in

another district of Uthaithani Province after 200 chickens

reportedly died there \”en masse.\” Embassy Bangkok-based

Regional Environmental and Health Officer was unable to reach

DLD officials in Bangkok to inquire whether veterinary

samples were taken from the affected flock for laboratory

testing. The province, which is further south than Phichit,

Phitsanulok, Sukothai, and Uttaradit provinces, where large

numbers of poultry die-offs were reported in July,

nevertheless lies in the broad belt that runs north from

Bangkok to the Lao border where there is a heavy

concentration of chicken farming, as well as the raising of

fighting cocks.

 

…And Another Way Out in the Northeast

—————————————

7. (U) Meanwhile, from July 16 to July 24, 2241 layer

chickens died on 78 farms and households in Nakhon Phanom

Province in Thailand\’s extreme northeast corner. On July 29,

DLD\’s Upper Northeastern Regional Veterinary Research and

Development Center, detected H5 avian influenza virus in

samples taken from the dead birds. On August 1, the National

Institute of Animal Health in Bangkok confirmed the full

identification of the virus as H5N1. DLD made a preliminary

report to the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) on

 

BANGKOK 00004792 004.2 OF 004

 

July 31 with a follow-up report on August 2. DLD also culled

more than 300,000 poultry in the province, made arrangements

to compensate owners 75 percent of the value of the culled

birds, and took samples from nearly 12,000 poultry within a

5-km radius of the infected farm, including more than 10,500

chickens and more than 900 ducks from 734 farms or

households. CDC-Bangkok has conducted active surveillance

for severe pneumonia in Nakhon Phanom since 2003, and is

deeply integrated into the outbreak response.

 

8. (U) Various Thai media reported that Thai officials

believed the virus arrived in Nakhon Phanom on contaminated

egg trays from Laos, but gave no evidence for their

conclusions. In its official report to the OIE, the DLD

stated that the source of the outbreak in Nakhon Phanom was

\”unknown or inconclusive.\” Thailand has since restricted

cross-border transport of poultry and poultry products from

Laos.

ARVIZU

Written by thaicables

July 13, 2011 at 5:10 am

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