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Thailand to develop bird flu vaccine

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BANGKOK, Jul 18, 2004 (United Press International via COMTEX) -- Thailand's Agriculture Minister Somsak Thepsuthin has approved an experiment on bird flu vaccines, the Bangkok Post reported Sunday.

The approval moves Thailand closer to use of vaccination as an option to control the virus, which has now spread to 13 provinces. About 100,000 fowl have been culled or died in the last two weeks, when bird flu re-emerged.

Somsak said a working group of specialists in infectious diseases would conduct the experiment on the H5N1 virus strain of bird flu. A veterinarian from China, where poultry is vaccinated against the virus, would be invited to introduce guidelines for the Thai team.

However, the Livestock Development Department is opposed to vaccine experiments. Director-general Yukol Limlaemthong says vaccination carries potential risks to public health and is unlikely to eradicate the infection.

Copyright 2004 by United Press International.

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