In Asia, bird flu claims another life, four more farms

March 17, 2004, just-food.com: Thailand has announced another human fatality attributed to bird flu. The news comes a week after the Thai government announced its country was free of the virus. In addition to another human case, four provinces also reported chickens testing positive for bird flu. The government has sense recanted their disease-free status and an agriculture ministry official said all poultry within a 1km-radius of each new outbreak is to be culled, reported Dow Jones News.

So far eight people have died from the disease in Thailand and 15 have died in Vietnam bringing the total to 23 deaths attributed to bird flu in Asia. More than 100 million birds have been culled across Asia in a bid to stop the spread of the disease.

The UN Food and Agriculture Organization has warned countries not to restock poultry flocks or resume poultry trade until they are completely clear from the virus.

China has said it has had no new reports of bird flu among poultry for 29 days, but warned further outbreaks could occur once migratory birds begin their journey north, reported Reuters.

Japan meanwhile has introduced new tougher penalties for farmers who fail to report evidence of bird flu among their flocks. The decision follows accusations that a farmer in western Japan covered up the deaths of thousands of infected chickens at his farm.