Thousands of volunteers deployed in Thailand to suppress bird flu spread

The Thai government will deploy 1.3 million health workers and volunteers across the country to fight a bird flu outbreak that has already killed 13 people.

The Thai Public Health Ministry said the 400,000 health workers and 900,000 volunteers will fan out across 21 provinces looking for signs of bird flu. Chickens showing symptoms of the virus will be killed and people with symptoms will be sent to health clinics.

Since August 2002, Thailand has confirmed 19 human cases of the H5N1 bird flu virus which have resulted in the deaths of 13 people. The latest victim was a 48-year-old man who died last week after handling his neighbors' sick chickens.

Wild birds and poultry suffering from bird flu have recently been discovered in 17 areas in five of the kingdom's 77 provinces, and the government has imposed a 21-day monitoring period in those areas. An area can be declared bird flu-free only after no new cases have been found for 21 straight days, the AP reports.


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