Thailand livestock chief cast out for flu cover up

27-07-2006 | |

The chief livestock officer of the Phichit province, where a 16-year-old boy died recently from bird flu, has been accused of failing to report the bird flu problem to the agricultural ministry, and has been transferred from his position.

Agriculture Minister Khunying Sudarat Keyuraphan ordered the transfer on Wednesday, after he visited the province after a teenager was confirmed to have died from the avian disease.

The chief livestock officer, Pracha Assavametha, was accused of failing to prevent the spread of bird flu in the province and failing to report the situation to the minister.

However, Pracha Assavametha said he actually had reported the situation of mysterious deaths of birds and chickens to the ministry and the minister.

The boy who died from bird flu reportedly caught the virus from one of his fighting cocks.

Thai authorities Tuesday confirmed a new outbreak of the deadly H5N1 strain of the virus in Phichit, but the boy was not living on the farm where the disease was found.

Thawat Suntrajarn, chief of the Phichit province disease control department, said the victim suffered from a deadly combination of dengue fever and bird flu, which he said was common in people who die from the H5N1 strain of the virus.