Public Health Minister said on Sunday that no domestic swine flu cases have been reported, but relevant authorities are closely watching the outbreak of the disease in Mexico and U.S. which has claimed more than 80 people's lives, Thai media reported.
According to Thai News Agency's website, the Minister Wittaya Kaewparadai said health officials were required to coordinate with the UN World Health Organization (WHO) and U.S. health authorities and to closely follow the development of the outbreak.
Thai hospitals have treated a total of 3,159 patients suffering influenza so far this year, a number similar to that in the corresponding period of 2008, and no deaths have been reported, Wittaya said.
However, as a precaution the public health officials are monitoring the development of the previously unseen H1N1 swine influenza and preparing medications and medical equipment for a possible outbreak of the disease in the kingdom, he said.
The website of Bangkok Post quoted Permanent Secretary for Public Health Prat Boonyawongvirot as saying that people might catch swine flu from close proximity to pigs, but cannot catch it from eating cooked pork. he said it could be transmitted among people like ordinary human flu, and no vaccine is available yet.
Its symptoms are similar to those human influenza, such as high fever, body aches, coughing and runny nose, and the Public Health Ministry asked people with these symptoms to wear protective masks and avoid going to public areas.
According to WHO, at least 81 people have died from severe pneumonia caused by a flu-like illness in Mexico. U.S. officials said 11 Americans were infected with swine flu and at least two remain in hospital.
Prat warned people who plan to visit Mexico or American border states including California, Texas, Arizona and New Mexico to follow the situation closely and to receive advice from the ministry.
(Xinhua News Agency April 26, 2009)