Suspected new bird flu cases found in Thailand


Wed, Jul 07, 2004 - Page 5

Thai authorities yesterday said a suspected new outbreak of bird flu had been detected at a chicken farm north of Bangkok, raising the spectre of more mass slaughters of poultry to fight the disease.

Deputy Agriculture and Cooperatives Minister Newin Chidchob said the chicken farm in Ayutthaya province, 70km north of Bangkok, was put under quarantine Monday and blood samples from dead chickens had been sent to Bangkok for testing.

He said test results were expected in a couple of days, but the World Health Organization (WHO) had already been informed about the suspected outbreak.

The Livestock Department said about 600 chickens had died at the farm under conditions similar to previous bird flu outbreaks.

Thailand's large poultry industry was devastated early this year by an outbreak of a deadly strain of the bird flu virus. The disease killed 11 humans, and some 35 million chickens and ducks were slaughtered to bring the epidemic under control.

"I admit the possibility that bird flu has returned," Newin said.