Thailand's caretaker Agriculture Minister Khunying Sudarat Keyuraphan ordered
a transfer of Pichit Province's chief livestock officer yesterday, criticizing
him of failing to report situation of bird flu disease to the ministry.
The transfer was issued after Sudarat and caretaker Public Health Minister
Pinit Jarusombat visited the province after a teenage was confirmed to have died
from the avian disease.
Pracha Assavametha, the chief livestock officer of Pichit, was transferred to
the ministry on Wednesday as he failed to prevent the spreading of the disease
in the province and failed to report the situation to the minister, local
newspaper the Nation said.
However, Pracha said he usually reported the situation of mysterious deaths
of birds and chickens to the ministry and the minister.
Earlier Wednesday, caretaker Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra said the
16-year-old boy from Phichit had died of bird flu, making him the country's
first casualty from the virus in over seven months.
Thaksin said the boy caught the virus from one of his fighting cocks in
"The 16-year-old boy did not report the death of his fighting cock because he
was afraid that authorities would slaughter his birds," Thaksin said. "But it's
too late, he died of bird flu after touching the dead bird that had been sick."
Thai authorities Tuesday confirmed a new outbreak of the deadly H5N1 strain
of the virus in Pichit, but the boy was not living on the farm where the disease
Thawat Suntrajarn, chief of Pichit's 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.
The boy died in hospital, one week after first visiting a doctor, Thawat
Health experts fear the H5N1 strain could mutate into a form that is
transmitted more easily between humans.