Thai officials yesterday ordered the slaughter of 300,000 chickens after the second outbreak this year of the deadly H5N1 bird flu virus was discovered on a farm in the northeast.
"The H5N1 virus was found in chickens in a local farm," said Charal Trinvuthipong, assistant to the agricultural minister.
The outbreak at a farm in Nakhon Phanom Province, 740 kilometers northeast of Bangkok, follows the death on Wednesday of a boy from bird flu Thailand's first such death in seven months.
"It is the second outbreak (this year) following the one in Phichit Province," Charal added. He said more than 100 volunteers had been deployed to cull about 300,000 chickens near the affected area.
Authorities earlier threatened people with a US$52 fine for failing to report any sick or dead poultry.
Agriculture ministry officials said the measures, due to be officially announced today, would be enforced across the country.
"People will be guilty if they fail to report sick and dead poultry, with a maximum fine of 2,000 baht," an official said, adding that the measures would come under existing legislation to counter animal-linked epidemics.
Health authorities have been on high alert since Wednesday's death. The victim, a 17-year-old boy, caught the virus from one of his fighting cocks in northern Thailand. He had not reported the death of his bird because he feared the rest would be culled.
(China Daily July 31, 2006)