Thailand Worries about Bird Flu H7N9 – Defensive Measures Taken in Chiang Mai

CityNews – The deputy director of the Chiang Mai Public Health Office, Surasing Witsarutrat, held a press conference regarding the Influenza A virus subtype H7N9, an avian influenza virus which has infected 127 people and caused 23 deaths in China from February to April of this year.

Prasert Thongchareon, consultant of the Department of Disease Control, Ministry of Public Health, revealed that an 87-year-old Chinese man died of H7N9; his two sons had also been infected. The man’s first son was able to overcome the infection, but his second son died. It is assumed that the H7N9 bird flu did not respond to Oseltamivir pills, an antiviral medicine that helps slow down the spread rate of the disease. If infected, symptoms include severe pneumonia and organ failure. However, it is also possible to carry the disease without showing any symptoms. Richard Webby, PhD, from St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital explained that H7N9 is the most common bird flu, but it has not yet been transmitted by human-to-human contact.

The Chiang Mai Public Health Office has set four defensive measures against the disease, including: monitoring the disease among those who suffer respiratory disease, preparing treatment, community monitoring among residents and animals, and extensive communication to people about the risks of the virus.