Strict screening of people for the H7N9 virus using body temperature detectors is unwarranted as there is no clear evidence that this type of bird flu can be transmitted from human to human, the Public Health Ministry said yesterday.
“So far, there’s no report about the spread of H7N9 influenza in Thailand,” Public Health Minister Pradith Sinthawanarong said.
Health officials and community medical volunteers nationwide have been instructed to conduct surveys to find anyone infected among travellers returning from trips abroad.
The officials have also been assigned to monitor the deaths of poultry across the country. The public is also asked to report any suspicious deaths of chicken or poultry.
Medical workers have been put on standby while antiviral drugs, both oral and injectable, are being prepared. Laboratories are now capable of detecting the virus and rapid response teams are ready to be dispatched to control and prevent the spread of the deadly virus.
“Medical workers are suggested to keep a close eye on patients with severe pneumonia,” Pradith said.
Citing a meeting between the World Health Organisation and the ministry, he said the World Organisation for Animal Health reported on April 16 that it had discovered the H7N9-type virus in poultry bought from fresh markets in China’s Zhejiang and Jiangsu provinces but no symptoms of illness had appeared in the fowl.
Even though the number of people contracting H7N9 is still increasing, local health experts have not recommended authorities to beef up measures to catch people infected with the bird flu virus.