Go to contents

National Institute of Health Issues Bird Flu Travel Advisory for Southeast Asia

National Institute of Health Issues Bird Flu Travel Advisory for Southeast Asia

Posted January. 24, 2004 23:21,   


Bird flu is spreading in Asia with newly confirmed cases in Thailand and Cambodia and successive deaths from bird flu confirmed in Vietnam and Thailand.

Accordingly, the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry imposed a ban on import of chickens and ducks from Thailand on January 24.

The National Institute of Health (NIH) recommends that tourists to Vietnam, Thailand and Cambodia refrain from visiting risky areas and asks them to report a public health center immediately if they exhibit flu symptoms within twelve days after visiting those areas.

The World Health Organization (WHO) warned that this variation of bird flu virus might possibly be transmitted between people.

Bird flu has appeared in six countries, including Korea, Japan, Taiwan, Vietnam, Thailand and Cambodia, since the virus was discovered last September.

On January 23 the Thai government officially confirmed that two patients have been stricken by bird flu, that three patients are suspected of having contracted the virus and that one of those three, a 56-year-old man, has died.

Separately, a medical committee subsidiary to the Thai government revealed that a housewife is thought to have been killed by bird flu last week and that her son is in the hospital with similar symptoms.

The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) confirmed bird flu patients in Cambodia on January 23.

In Vietnam, the WHO confirmed bird flu as the cause in the deaths of a 13-year-old boy and an 8-year-old girl in Ho Chi Minh City on January 24. The deaths bring the total number of bird flu related fatalities confirmed by the WHO in Vietnam to seven. Foreign news agencies have suggested that there have been more bird flu fatalities in Vietnam besides those that have been officially confirmed.

The NIH has decided to carry out close follow-up examinations of patients with serious respiratory illnesses who reside in areas where the virus has been reported in order to screen for the possibility of an outbreak of human bird flu.

The NIH revealed that no patients are suspected of having fallen sick from bird flu up to now as the result of follow-up examinations of 1587 people since the outbreak of bird flu last December.

The Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry has decided to ban imports of any Thai bird-related products, such as parrots, and not just poultry. The amount of chickens and ducks imported from Thailand was 41,263 tons and 264 tons, respectively. No birds are imported from Vietnam, so an import ban on bird-related products from that country has not been imposed.