Two cases of suspected bird flu in humans have been found in Uttaradit, one of the seven Thai provinces declared a "red zone" by the Department of Livestock Development (DLD), provincial officials said on Sunday.
A 67-year-old wildfowl hunter and his 35-year-old son-in-law were admitted to Uttaradit Provincial Hospital on Friday for flu- like symptoms. Both had contact with a bird from the wild, as the hunter shot an unidentified species of wild bird and cooked it to share with his son-in-law before both fell ill, said Provincial Chief Medical Officer Dr. Boonriang Chuchaisaengrat.
Blood samples were collected from the two patients and sent for testing at the Northern Medical Science Center in Pitsanulok Province. The results were expected in a few days, Boonriang added.
Meanwhile, Panom Meesiriphan, chief of the province's livestock office, insisted that although there are suspicious deaths of poultry in many districts, there were no confirmed case of the H5N1 virus.
Despite the recent declaration of seven provinces' bird-flu " red zones," DLD director-general Yukol Limlamthong said Thailand had not been hit by an outbreak of the virus.
"The 'red zone' means the area has a high risk of becoming an infected area, but it does not mean that it is already infected," said Yukol.
Besides Uttaradit, the other six red-zone provinces are Sukhothai, Pichit, Pitsanulok, Suphanburi, Nakhon Pathom and Kanchanaburi.