May 12, 2009 / 6:27 AM / 10 years ago

Thailand confirms first H1N1 flu case

(For full coverage of the flu crisis, click on [nFLU])

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BANGKOK, May 12 (Reuters) - Thailand confirmed its first case of the H1N1 flu on Tuesday, but the patient has recovered and there were no reports of more infections, Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva said.

The Public Health Ministry has scheduled a news conference for 2 p.m. (0700 GMT) to discuss the test results confirmed by the U.S.-based Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

"The returned lab result confirmed that it was the infection, but the person has recovered from it," Abhisit told reporters.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has confirmed 4,379 infections worldwide, with the worst impact in North America, where 60 people have died.

Despite the small number of cases to date in Asia, health experts say the region cannot afford to be complacent after bouts of SARS and bird flu in recent years.

Last week, health ministers from 13 Asian countries agreed in Bangkok to boost antiviral drug stockpiles and tighten surveillance against the virus, also known as swine flu. [nBKK124734]

The global spread of the virus has raised concerns about a possible pandemic, although scientists say this strain does not appear more deadly than seasonal flu.

Nevertheless, the impact of H1N1 on global travel has added to the gloom in Thailand’s tourist industry, which has already suffered a sharp drop in arrivals due to the global economic crisis and political unrest at home. (Reporting by Pracha Hariraksapitak; Writing by Darren Schuettler; Editing by Alan Raybould)

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