Thai Ministry of Public Health denies Death by Bird-Flu!

There is good news on the Bird-Flu front. At least I think it is good news.

According to a news item today in The Nation, one of the largest Thai News Papers, Thailand’s Ministry of Public Health now says that Wichian Boonraksa the 41-year-old man from the northern province of Phichit died of severe pneumonia, not avian influenza as earlier suspected.The man had bird flu-like symptoms and was admitted to hospital in Phichit on Friday and died on July 15, according to Dr. Mongkol Na Songkhla, public health minister.

“According to laboratory tests, the patient tested negative regarding the H5N1 virus and had no record of physical contact with sick or dead poultry”.

While at the same time, Xinhua News Agency, the state news agency of China, reports that Thailand’s northern Phichit Provincial Hospital announced on Monday, that the man who had bird- flu-like symptom died of liver virus disease, not bird flu.

Doctor Suchart Theparak, deputy director of the hospital, said Wichian Boonraksa, 42, had not been in touch with any chicken.

He said Wichian had chronic liver disease and the condition was complicated with lung infections.

Wichian, who died on Sunday, highly arose worry about the deadly disease since he had fever, cough, exhaustion and pneumonia, which are all the symptoms of bird flu.  

That is good news indeed!

However, I have a problem with the above comments relating to the claims that the vicitim had not been in touch with any poultry.

This is because according to a news item by the Vietnam News Agency yesterday, “The man lived next door to his elder brother’s cockfighting yard. Recently some of the birds had died of unknown causes” see

Now if the victim did live next door to his elder brother’s cockfighting yard, then there can be no positive confirmation of the fact that he had not been in touch with any chicken”.

The above could of course be a simple misunderstanding.

It does not help create public confidence though.

Why is it that this entire Bird-Flu saga seems to get more and more like a political campaign with most of us believing less and less that we are told?

Below are the links to the news items that I have mentioned, credit for these should go to



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