BANGKOK (Reuters) - Thailand has culled more than 200 chickens after detecting the H5N1 bird flu virus in a rural area more than 400 kms (250 miles) north of Bangkok, the Agriculture Ministry said on Tuesday.
Tests confirmed the country’s first outbreak in 10 months near the ancient capital of Sukhothai, where villagers had found several dead chickens.
“Lab tests showed that the chickens died of the deadly H5N1 virus and we have killed all chickens in the area,” Agriculture Minister Somsak Prisnanantakul told reporters.
“We are confident that everything is under control,” he added.
The highly pathogenic virus was last found in Thailand in late January in the northern provinces of Nakhon Sawan and Phichit, where thousands of birds were culled.
There were four outbreaks in Thailand last year, but no new reports of human infections in the country where H5N1 has killed 17 people since 2003.
The virus has killed 245 people out of 387 infected people so far, according to the World Health Organisation, and is endemic in poultry in parts of Asia.
Bird flu remains an animal disease but scientists fear the H5N1 virus could mutate into a form that could spread easily among humans and kill millions of people.