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Bird flu spreading in Thailand

A second province in Thailand, Uthai Thani, has confirmed the occurrence of H5N1 avian influenza in a poultry flock.

Laboratory tests detected the H5N1 virus in chickens from a backyard farm after several of the birds died, said Sakchai Sriboonsue, director-general of the province's livestock department.

Earlier this month, Thai officials reported an outbreak in Sukhothai province, the country's first in about 10 months.

Recent reports have also stated more potential outbreaks in Sukothai province. The Bangkok Post reported that livestock officials discovered the virus on a fighting cock farm in Sawankhalok in the northern part of the province. Initial tests confirmed the birds were infected with an avian influenza virus, but officials were awaiting the results of tests to identify the strain. A newspaper based in Bangkok reported that the virus had spread to another farm in Sawankhalok district, killing 30 chickens.

Thailand's public health ministry today put nine northern provinces under special watch for avian influenza. The Post listed the provinces as Phitsanulok, Tak, Phetchabun, Sukhothai, Uttaradit, Nakhon Sawan, Uthai Thani, Kamphaeng Phet, and Phichit.

Natalie Berkhout

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