New bird flu case reported in Thailand

Thailand reported a new suspected human case of bird flu on Friday, while authorities prepared for a massive free chicken feast aimed at reviving the nation's ailing poultry industry.

As part of an effort to shore up public confidence and the ailing poultry industry, up to 60 tons of cooked chicken meat and eggs will be given away at the feast Saturday in a park opposite Bangkok's royal palace, said Deputy Agriculture Minister Newin Chidchob.

The government claims eating eggs and chicken meat is safe, as long as they're well-cooked. But that hasn't persuaded many Thais to resume eating them, as the bird flu death toll climbed to 18 - five in Thailand and 13 in Vietnam.

Deputy Prime Minister Somkid Jatusripitak said a 5-year-old girl from northern Phayao province, who was hospitalized with flu-like symptoms earlier this week, is being tested for bird flu.

Twenty people are suspected of having bird flu in Thailand, and nine of them have died. The list of suspected cases has been adjusted almost daily, as authorities receive word of new possible cases or laboratory test results that rule out old ones.

A UN official in Vietnam said Friday that preliminary tests showed that that pigs in and around Hanoi had tested positive for the virus, but Thai officials said the disease hasn't been detected in pigs in Thailand.

Avian flu has been found among poultry in 40 of Thailand's 76 provinces, and officials have slaughtered nearly 26 million birds to try to stop the disease from spreading.

A Thai expert warned last month that if culled chicken are not disposed of safely, the disease could spread from chickens to pigs and could transfer easily from pigs to people due to genetic similarities.

Deputy Prime Minister Somkid said the culling campaign was completed in all affected provinces except Bangkok, and that provincial governors and the military will carry out tests next week to check if the disease remains.

"Once everything has been cleared, I am confident ... importers will buy our chickens again," Somkid said. "What we need to do now is restore public confidence domestically."

Government spokesman Jakrapob Penkair said Thailand plans to announce that the country is free of the virus by the end of February.

Thailand - the world's fourth largest exporter of chicken products - shipped about 500,000 tons of chicken worth 52 billion baht in 2003. The European Union, Japan and other major markets have banned Thai chicken products over disease fears.

Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra's government has faced widespread allegations of initially covering up the outbreak, which livestock officials may have detected as early as November, to protect the country's lucrative chicken exports.

Jakrapob brushed aside the allegations, quoting Thaksin as saying that Thailand "isn't desperate for money" and had acted responsibly toward local and foreign chicken buyers during the bird flu crisis.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Arts and Entertainment
Books should be for everyone, says Els, 8. Publisher Scholastic now agrees
booksAn eight-year-old saw a pirate book was ‘for boys’ and took on the publishers
Life and Style
Mary Beard received abuse after speaking positively on 'Question Time' about immigrant workers: 'When people say ridiculous, untrue and hurtful things, then I think you should call them out'
tech
Life and Style
Most mail-order brides are thought to come from Thailand, the Philippines and Romania
life
News
i100
Life and Style
tech
Voices
Margaret Thatcher, with her director of publicity Sir Gordon Reece, who helped her and the Tory Party to victory in 1979
voicesThe subject is being celebrated by the V&A museum, triggering some happy memories for former PR man DJ Taylor
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Installation and Service / Security Engineer

£22000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company is part of a Group...

Recruitment Genius: Service Charge Accounts Assistant

£16000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you a a young, dynamic pers...

Cancer Research UK: Corporate Partnerships Volunteer Events Coordinator – London

Voluntary: Cancer Research UK: We’re looking for someone to support our award ...

Ashdown Group: Head of IT - Hertfordshire - £90,000

£70000 - £90000 per annum + bonus + car allowance + benefits: Ashdown Group: H...

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence
Public relations as 'art'? Surely not

Confessions of a former PR man

The 'art' of public relations is being celebrated by the V&A museum, triggering some happy memories for DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef succumbs to his sugar cravings with super-luxurious sweet treats

Bill Granger's luxurious sweet treats

Our chef loves to stop for 30 minutes to catch up on the day's gossip, while nibbling on something sweet
London Marathon 2015: Paula Radcliffe and the mother of all goodbyes

The mother of all goodbyes

Paula Radcliffe's farewell to the London Marathon will be a family affair
Everton vs Manchester United: Steven Naismith demands 'better' if Toffees are to upset the odds against United

Steven Naismith: 'We know we must do better'

The Everton forward explains the reasons behind club's decline this season
Arsenal vs Chelsea: Praise to Arsene Wenger for having the courage of his convictions

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Praise to Wenger for having the courage of his convictions