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Bird flu kills nine-year-old Thai girl
Updated: 2004-10-04 13:59

Bird flu has killed a nine-year-old Thai girl, raising the country's death toll from the disease to 11, a Health Ministry spokeswoman said on Monday.

bird flu,thailand
An eight-year-old girl has died of bird flu in northern Thailand, becoming the country's 11th confirmed victim of the lethal virus this year. Here eggs for sale in Bangkok. [AFP/file]
Her death took to 31 the number of people killed in Asia since the H5N1 bird flu virus swept through much of Asia early this year, when most of the deaths occurred. The other 20 deaths were all in Vietnam.

"The nine-year-old girl, who was confirmed having bird flu yesterday, died last night at 9:40 p.m.," Nitaya Chanruang Mahabhol told Reuters.

The girl had touched dead chickens at her home, she said.

"The girl was in poor condition before being sent to the hospital," Nitaya said. She had fallen ill on Sept. 6.

Experts fear the H5N1 virus could infect an animal that is also able to host a human flu virus -- most likely a pig -- and then mutate and set off a pandemic among a human population with no resistance to the mutated virus.

No evidence has yet emerged of such a development, although experts are now sure that the H5N1 virus can be passed from human to human in the case of prolonged and very close contact.

Last month, it killed a Thai woman whose daughter died in her arms, coughing blood.

However, the virus has proved its ability to infect cats, and now dogs.

The H5N1 virus was discovered in a dog in the southeastern province of Prachinburi where previous cases had been found in humans and poultry, the Health Ministry said on Sunday.

A clouded leopard in Thailand caught the virus at a zoo from eating infected chicken and Dutch researchers reported last month that domestic cats can get the avian influenza virus, which means pets are at risk of catching and spreading the disease.

A campaign ordered by Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra to wipe out the virus by the end of October began last week, with hundreds of thousands of volunteers and officials from the Health and Agriculture ministries being mobilized.

So far, 92 areas in 28 of Thailand's provinces are under bird flu watch, of which 50 areas were confirmed to have been hit by the virus, Livestock Department officials say.

Tens of millions of fowl have been slaughtered in the effort to eradicate the disease.

For a few months it looked as if it was being defeated, but it sprang up again in Thailand and Vietnam in July.

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Bird flu kills nine-year-old Thai girl


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