Like in many different parts of the world, especially countries like the U.S. and U.K., the influenza A (H1N1) virus is seen as a serious health issue in Thailand. However, most of the cases detected in Thailand have been in educational institutions and business establishments where the virus can spread quickly.
An intensive surveillance system has been put into placed to detect H1N1. Since 28 April to 15 July 2009, the Ministry of Public Health has reported the accumulated number of 4,057 laboratory-confirmed cases of influenza A (H1N1) infection in Thailand, with 24 fatalities. Of these cases, (more than 99% or 4,021 cases) have been treated, fully recovered, and discharged from hospitals.
A very small number of travellers, both Thais and foreigners, have been detected upon their arrival in Thailand from affected areas. Others appear to be cases of transmission from close contact with those infected within Thailand.
Every patient with a confirmed A (H1N1) infection had received antiviral drugs treatment within 48 hours, and almost all have recovered. The Ministry of Public Health is continuing to prioritize disease prevention within the kingdom to limit spreading of influenza A (H1N1) to as narrowest a scope as possible.
Many Thais are also wearing face-masks as a simple precautionary measure, both against spreading the virus or getting it from others.
The authorities have also tightened surveillance measures to promptly identify patients, to provide effective medical treatment and to promote public awareness on self-prevention from infection.
Thailand recognizes that the WHO continues to recommend no restrictions on travel and no border closures. The following measures are being taken:
Monitoring and screening of inbound international travellers for prompt medical services in case of need
Distribution of Health Beware Cards, health questionnaire, and advice on self-care to inbound international travellers, by collaboration between public health authority and international airlines
Coordination with travel agencies, hotels and airlines in order to take care and give advice to travellers
Other measures include surveillance on travellers who came from epidemic areas, cleansing of schools and public gathering places, and measures for case detection and disease control.
The Tourism Authority of Thailand also notes that medical services in Thailand are of international standard. Thailand also has past experiences in successfully dealing with the SARS and Avian Flu.
On 14 July 2009, the cabinet approved a budget of 850 million baht to buy vaccines and drugs for A (H1N1) flu prevention and treatment, the prime minister announced. He was quoted as saying in the Bangkok Post that Thailand would also work on developing a vaccine, which is expected to be ready for mass production in about five months, he said.
The city’s mass transit and commuter systems are also undertaking preventive measures.
Three hotlines have been put into service, namely, the Ministry of Public Health 24-hour Hotline at +66 2 590 1994; the Department of Disease Control Hotline at +66 2 590 3333; and the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration Health Department (Disease Control Division) at +662 245 8106. The website of the Bureau of Emerging Infectious Diseases, Department of Disease Control, Ministry of Public Health at http://beid.ddc.moph.go.th/eng