HPSC is monitoring the situation regarding Avian Influenza
On the 7th August 2006, the Ministry of Public Health in Thailand confirmed the country's 24th case of human infection with the H5N1 avian influenza virus. The case, which was fatal, occurred in a 27-year-old man from the central province of Uthai Thani. He developed symptoms on the 24th July, was hospitalised on the 30th July, and died on the 3rd August. Investigation of his source of infection revealed contact with household chickens, which began dying around one week prior to symptom onset. This is Thailand's second case of H5N1 infection, and second fatality, within the past two weeks. Confirmation of these cases follows an 8-month period in which no human cases were reported in the country. Recent outbreaks in poultry have been officially reported in two provinces, Phichit and Nakhon Phanom, both located in the northern part of the country.
H5N1 avian influenza remains predominantly a disease of birds. A small number of human cases have been reported in South East Asia, Africa and Eastern Europe, all of which have been associated with close contact with dead or dying poultry. In all human cases to date there has been no evidence of efficient human-to-human transmission. Human infections remain a rare event.
The advice from the Department of Agriculture and Food in Ireland is not to handle dead wild birds unless necessary. For further information please consult the Department of Agriculture and Food website. For queries relating to dead birds please contact the Department of Agriculture and Food on the Avian Influenza Hotline: 1890 252 283.
At present, recommendations on travel, personal protection and food safety remain unchanged. Current travel advice is available here. The WHO level of pandemic alert remains unchanged at phase 3. This is defined as a virus new to humans that is causing infections, but does not spread easily from one person to another. The latest updates from the WHO are available on the WHO website.
Further information on avian influenza is also available on the HPSC website.