May 19, 2009 / 7:26 AM / in 10 years

Thailand tests dead tourist for H1N1 flu

BANGKOK, May 19 (Reuters) - The Thai government is conducting tests to find out if a 65-year-old German tourist died from H1N1 flu, Health Ministry spokesman Suphan Srithamma said on Tuesday.

If confirmed, this would be the first fatality from the flu in the Southeast Asian country. The authorities said on May 12 that two Thai citizens who had been in Mexico had H1N1 flu, but both had recovered. [ID:nSP471175].

"The test in Thailand will be enough. We should know the results in 24 hours, around noon of May 20, and if it’s positive, we’ll inform the public as soon as possible," Suphan said.

The German woman arrived in Thailand on May 12 in good health and travelled to the seaside resort of Hua Hin. She developed a fever on May 16 and checked into a hospital, where she died on May 18.

The ministry gave no further details, other than to say she was with her husband and an offspring, who had been monitored for possible infection and were healthy.

Forty countries have confirmed cases of the new flu strain. Almost all of the 74 dead so far have been in Mexico. Most people with the flu have had relatively mild symptoms.

The impact of H1N1 on global travel has added to the gloom in Thailand’s tourist industry, which had already suffered a sharp drop in arrivals due to the global economic crisis and political unrest at home. [ID:nL6939992] (Reporting by Kittipong Soonprasert; Editing by Alan Raybould and Jerry Norton)

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