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Two Cats Die from Bird Flu Virus in Thailand

Thai Health Ministry's Disease Control Department on Firday confirmed that two cats had died from bird flu virus and experts are cooperating to research the case, the Bangkokbiznews.com reported.

Thai government spokesman Jakrapob Penkair said here Friday afternoon that the government had received confirmed report from the Disease Control Department, saying it's the first case in the world that H5N1 virus had been detected on cat.

"Because it's the first case in the world, so nobody can explain clearly so far how the virus can infected to the bodies of cats and if other animals can be infected by the virus through cat or not," Jakrapob said.

He said experts from Thailand's institutes and universities are researching the case and the government had informed the new case to the concerned international organizations, including the Word Health Organization (WHO), the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).

Thaneerat Santivatra, director of Kasetsart University's animal hospitable hospital and dean of the university's Faculty of Veterinary Science announced this morning that test results proved that two cats from Nakhonpathom province had died of the H5N1 virus that caused the avian influenza.

He also declared that the test identified that a leopard died early this month and two tigers had recovered also infected by the same virus.

The Disease Control Department's director Charal Trivuthipong then told reporters that since the test also showed that the virus detected on cats remained exactly the same as those found out on chicken so he believed there is no mutation of the fatal H5N1 virus.

Many scientists worried that the H5N1 virus could mutate to a new virus which can infect between humans. The WHO also warned for many times that the mutation would make the disease more lethal and hard to cure.

(Xinhua News Agency February 21, 2004)

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