Flies not carriers of bird flu: scientists

News

The Medical Sciences Department yesterday sought to allay public fears over suggestions that sand flies carry a genetic attribute of the bird-flu virus.

“Sand flies can’t pass bird flu to humans,” the department’s director-general Dr Paijit Warachit said. Reports connecting the flies to bird flu originated in Japan.

Paijit said had the flies been able to spread the bird-flu virus thousands of people would have already been infected.

However, he said his department had not ignored the reports and was contacting Japan to request more information.

The department will also cooperate with the Livestock Development Department and universities’ veterinary faculties to begin studying the flies collected from areas where bird-flu outbreaks have been reported.

Paijit said, at this point, people need not worry and should simply stick to hygienic practices.

Public Health Ministry permanent secretary Vichai Tienthavon said people should eat fresh and fully-cooked food and reduce breeding grounds for the flies.

He said the Livestock Department should instruct farmers to clean their chicken pens, hygienically dispose of chicken droppings and ensure their personal hygiene was first rate.

Meanwhile, livestock officials in Phichit yesterday destroyed 1,300 ducks belonging to farmer Payung Buakham after some of them contracted bird flu. Payung would be given Bt90 compensation per duck killed.

Livestock officials in the province were also checking other flocks of ducks for bird flu, in a bid to prevent the disease from spreading further.

In a related development, Interior Minister Bhokin Bhalakula yesterday ordered provincial governors to pre-vent and tackle the spread of bird flu.

“Do what is necessary to prevent or solve the problem! But you should not overreact. If fowls are outside the areas of outbreak, there’s no need to kill them,” he said.

Published on February 25, 2005

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