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Last Updated: Friday, 21 October 2005, 11:19 GMT 12:19 UK
Tests show Thai boy has bird flu
Ronnarit Benpad in hospital in Bangkok, Thailand, Friday, Oct. 21, 2005.
Ronnarit Benpad is recovering in a Bangkok hospital
A 7-year-old boy in Thailand has tested positive for bird flu, two days after his father died from the disease, a Bangkok hospital has said.

But Siriraj Hospital stressed they did not believe the boy, who is recovering, had caught the virus from his father.

The 48-year-old farmer was the 13th person in Thailand to die from the flu.

The man is said to have slaughtered and eaten a sick bird in his home province of Kanchanaburi, where avian flu outbreaks were reported this week.

Initial tests on his son, Ronnarit Benpad, failed to confirm he had H5N1, the potentially deadly strain of bird flu which killed his father.

H5N1 BIRD FLU VIRUS
Principally an avian disease, first seen in humans in Hong Kong in 1997
Almost all human cases thought to be contracted from birds
Possible cases of human-to-human transmission in Hong Kong, Thailand and Vietnam, but none confirmed

But new tests found the virus, said Prasit Watanapa, director of Siriraj Hospital.

"Two different tests, performed at two different laboratories, have produced a positive result. So the boy has the bird flu virus," Siriraj Hospital said in a statement.

But Mr Prasit stressed that the boy had, like his father, been in close contact with sick chickens. "There is no evidence that the boy contracted the disease from the father," he said.

The hospital added that the boy's temperature had since returned to normal and he was eating and playing.

Concern is mounting that the virus is making a major reappearance in Asia as the continent heads towards its winter, when the virus appears to thrive.

This week, China said it had culled 91,000 birds in an area around the site of an outbreak of the killer virus in Inner Mongolia, and Vietnam, the worst-hit country in terms of human deaths, saw its first outbreak in poultry since June.




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