Avian flu detected in Thai Capital; Humans seen at more risk
Avian flu has been detected in chickens and ducks in Bangkok, health officials said yesterday, adding to concerns of a new epidemic in humans like the one earlier this year that left 24 dead.
Outbreaks have now been reported in 10 of Thailand's 76 provinces, as well as in China and Vietnam.
A scientific report published in the last week suggest that the virus is more easily infecting mice, suggesting that with a further mutation, it could spread more readily to humans.
Authorities have ordered immediate culling on any farm where 10 percent of the chickens have died of unidentified causes. More than 40,000 chickens have been killed in Thailand to stop the disease from spreading (Thomas Maugh, Los Angeles Times, July 16).
The Food and Agriculture Organization said yesterday, meanwhile, that countries should not cull wild birds in response to the avian flu outbreaks.
"Killing wild birds will not help to prevent or control avian influenza outbreaks," said Juan Lubroth of the FAO Animal Health Service. "Wild birds are an important element of the ecosystem and should not be destroyed" (FAO release, July 16).