Farms, Crossing of Regional barriers, climate change, transmission to wild
life and constantly moving human populations all contribute to the spread of
Thailand’s first case of bird flu was confirmed on Thursday
as the World Health Organisation (WHO) said it feared the H5N1 strain was
spreading across Asia.
A Thai senator said a child from Thailand’s SuphanBuri province had tested positive, after the government
admitted three people were being tested for the fatal disease.
accused Prime Minister ThaksinShinawatra’s
office of covering up the outbreak of the disease, after repeatedly denying
bird flu had hit Thailand.
"All the academics and experts have had to shut up due to political
interference. As a matter of fact they realised that the outbreak had
occurred since last November," he said.
Thailand’s announcement came as Bod
Dietz, the UN health agency's spokesman in Vietnam, said there were "mounting
opportunities" for the virus to mutate.
"We see this as an issue of growing concern that more countries have
H5N1 infections among poultry stock," Mr Dietz said.
"Although we have seen no evidence of human-to-human transmission, the
next step would be for that to occur.
"It is impossible to predict a time or date for this but there are
mounting opportunities for the virus to alter its form and begin affecting
the human population," he said.
Meanwhile, the WHO said on Thursday a prototype vaccine to protect humans
from the avian influenza could be ready for clinical testing shortly.
It said "a prototype virus could be made available to vaccine
manufacturing companies within about four weeks," but that it would take
several steps before the vaccine could be ready for use in humans.