Updated Swine Flu In Thailand

The rising death toll from the Mexican swine flu epidemic sent a wave of panic around the world on Monday with the United States declaring a public health emergency and other nations ordering border clampdowns.
In Thailand, airport health officials began using thermal screening equipment to monitor passengers arriving from the southern United States and Mexico for flu-like symptoms includIng fever.
China and Thailand joined Russia in banning meat imports from Mexico and the five US states where 20 swine flu cases have been confirmed.
Thai health officials joined other governments in warning against unnecessary travel to Mexico. Mexican Health Minister Jose Angel Cordova said the number of confirmed and suspected swine flu deaths had hit 149. In the capital, Mexico City, residents donned blue face masks and stocked up on food and water in anticipation of a long lock-down.
The Mexican health minister said the victims were aged between 20 and 50.
US and European officials on Monday advised citizens against most travel to Mexico as a swine flu virus that began there spread to the United States and beyond. With 40 cases now reported in the US, President Barack Obama urged calm, saying there was reason for concern but not yet "a cause for alarm." Cases of swine flu have been confirmed in the US, Canada and Spain. Scotland confirmed two cases on Monday evening. Mexican President Felipe Calderon called for calm but governments around the world ordered emergency measures to contain suspected cases and stock markets blamed the flu for a new share battering.
The European Union began organising an emergency meeting of health ministers, and governments put strict security around flights from Mexico, taking any suspected cases into quarantine.
The World Health Organisation has warned that swine flu -- apparently born out of a mix of human and avian flu viruses that infected pigs -- could become a pandemic and called for all nations to "intensify surveillance".
The number of suspected cases in Mexico has reached 1,614, up from 1,324, the health minister said on national television.
President Calderon urged people to join efforts to contain the virus. He said Mexicans had to "move fast, but to maintain calm and cooperate with the authorities."
Mexico City was deserted after its 20 million residents were ordered to avoid crowds, and a football game at the 105,000-seat Aztec stadium was played with no fans on Sunday.
The only confirmed cases outside Mexico are the 20 in the United States and six in Canada.
Richard Besser, acting head of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said there were eight confirmed cases in New York City, seven in California, two in Texas, two in Kansas and one in Ohio.
An official said the US government intends to release a quarter of the national stockpile of 50 million doses of the Tamiflu and Relenza anti-viral drugs.
The Defense Department, she added, had procured seven million treatment courses of Tamiflu.
After China, Thailand and Russia banned some US pork imports, US officials insisted it was virtually impossible to catch swine flu from eating meat as long as it is properly cooked.
Authorities across the Asia-Pacific region, which has in recent years been at the forefront of the SARS and bird flu epidemics, stepped up checks at airports and urged the public to be on guard for symptoms.
Ten New Zealand students who recently traveled to Mexico are "likely" to have contracted swine fever, Health Minister Tony Ryall said -- the first suspected cases in the region of more than three billion people.
Two people admitted to an Australian hospital with flu symptoms after returning from Mexico finally tested negative for deadly swine flu.
In Malaysia, Health Minister Liow Tiong Lai said even travelers arriving from the United States were being screened. Thai authorities installed thermal scanners at Bangkok airport to monitor passengers.
Spain screened all passengers arriving off flights from Mexico and tested eight suspected swine flu cases. Two patients in Scotland were also under observation after their return from Mexico.
However, four suspicious cases in France were given the all-clear.
Nine people in Colombia and one in Brazil were placed under observation after they arrived from Mexico with flu symptoms.
In the Middle East, a 26-year-old Israeli was hospitalized in Netanya on returning from Mexico.
Swiss pharmaceutical group Roche said it was ready to send out more stocks of Tamiflu, which it manufactures, but stock markets around the world took fright over the outbreak.
Airline stocks in particular plunged on worries that governments could impose travel restrictions.
"Swine flu is ripping through the markets creating uncertainty in its wake," said Manoj Ladwa, senior trader at financial spread-betting firm ETX Capital in London.
Health officials in Hong Kong, which was at the forefront of the Sars epidemic in 2003 and has since been on alert for bird flu, said they would detain anyone with symptoms of swine flu after arriving from an infected area.
China warned international travellers to be alert for any signs of infection and banned all pork imports from Mexico and parts of the United States, despite health officials saying the current outbreak was being spread by human-to-human contact.
The most common measure being put in place was the use of thermal scanners, which have been a common feature in many Asian airports since the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (Sars) epidemic six years ago.
New Zealand Prime Minister John Key said the country was well prepared to deal with any new flu outbreak thanks to a plan drawn up during the 2003 bird flu scare, with stocks of anti-flu medication in place.
Japan said it would fast-track efforts to find a vaccine, while one company pulled back the families of staff based in Mexico, travel agencies scrapped package tours and drug stores reported a brisk trade in face masks.
Hong Kong announced some of the toughest measures to ward against an outbreak, warning that passengers arriving from affected areas and showing flu-like symptoms would be quarantined.
"We will take that patient to the hospital and let him stay there and have a test and until the test result is negative, we won't allow him to get out of the hospital," said Thomas Tsang, from the city's centre for health protection.
Airlines were broadcasting messages on selected inbound flights advising passengers to report symptoms such as sudden fever.
In Vietnam, where 56 people have died from bird flu since 2003, airport screening was focused on passengers arriving from North America, the Thanh Nien newspaper reported.
"The city must take immediate measures to prevent and cope with the dangerous disease," Nguyen Van Chau, the director of Ho Chi Minh City's health department, was quoted as saying.
Thailand, which recorded 17 fatal human cases of bird flu between 2004 and the last outbreak in August 2006, began screening passengers arriving at its main international airport in Bangkok.
Australian Health Minister Nicola Roxon said that all planes arriving from the Americas would be required to report on the health status of passengers before receiving permission to land and that anyone with flu-like symptoms would be quarantined.
Despite the World Health organisation warning at the weekend that the virus had the potential to cause a pandemic, Taiwan Health Minister Yeh Chin-chuan urged the public to remain calm.
"There is no need to panic over the outbreak at the moment. The present situation is like a tropical storm emerging on the other side of the Pacific which poses no immediate threat to people here," he said.
Philippine authorities announced that they were screening passengers arriving from Los Angeles, San Francisco and New York and urged people to avoid hugging and kissing at public gatherings. All air passengers arriving in Thailand from infected areas will be monitored by thermal scanners for signs of a fever, Public Health Minister Witthaya Kaewparadai said on Monday. Mr Witthaya said health cards detailing the outbreak of swine flu will be distributed to both departing and arriving passengers.
The World Health Organisation declared the outbreak of influenza in Mexico and the US a “public health emergency of international concern” on Sunday.
Swine flu is a type of influenza virus usually found in pigs. The most common version is H1N1, and the current virus causing concern is a new variation of an H1N1 virus.
Swine flu does not typically pass to humans directly, but such transmission can occur. The current swine flu virus is concerning to health experts because it has shown the ability to pass from human to human.
veterinarian Rungroj Thanawongnuvej, of Chulalongkorn University, said the deadly strain of the virus causing the infections had not been detected in Thailand.
The difference between bird flu and swine flu is that swine flu is less deadly, with a lower proportion of fatalities.
The bird flu virus affects all systems of human body, but the swine virus affects only the respiratory system.
The symptoms include fever, runny nose, coughing, sore throat, vomiting and diarrhea, he said.Cooked pork will not transmit the virus to consumer, he said.
Thai pig raisers issued a statement insisting that Thai pork was safe to eat.

From: Bangkok Post