Tag Archive | Phuket Gazette

Phuket on alert for MERS virus

MERS Virus Alert

Phuket Health officials have ramped up efforts this week in order to identify passengers who are possibly carrying the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome-Coronavirus (Mers-CoV) to the island from South Korea or the Middle East, where the virus is spreading.
“We received an order from the Ministry of Public Health in Bangkok to be on alert for the virus,” Phuket Provincial Health Organization (PPHO) Chief Kajohnsak Kaewjarus told the Phuket Gazette today. “We started checking passengers on June 9.”
Six airline carriers flying into Phuket currently have flights departing from South Korea and the Middle East.
“Every traveller arriving from these destinations is being checked by the Disease Control Center at Phuket International Airport,” confirmed Dr Kajohnsak.
Airline crew members have also been asked to keep an eye out for any passengers showing signs of influenza and to notify officials upon arrival at the airport.
“Between Tuesday and Friday, we checked 3,900 passengers and found no MERS suspects,” Dr Kajohnsak said. “We have strong countermeasures in place, which we introduced in 2013 when MERS first became a concern for the island.”
The PPHO first rolled out its MERS protocol in July 2013. It included isolation procedures and patient tracking, in case a person was positively identified for symptoms of MERS (Special Report here).
A total of 122 cases of MERS have already been identified in South Korea. The outbreak killed nine people, reported The Nation. It began last month when a 68-year-old South Korean businessman brought the disease back from a trip to the Middle East.
Courtesy of phuketgazette.net

Large amount of reef fish turning up dead ‘a mystery’ along coast of Phuket, Thailand

Fish Kill Alert

Autopsy results of dead fish collected at Koh Racha Yai off the southern coast of Phuket have yielded no clues as to why scores of reef fish are being found dead in the area (story here).

“We have yet to determine the cause of death. Experts conducted autopsies, but the results were inconclusive,” Phuket Marine Biological Center (PMBC) Director Ukkrit Satapoomin told the Phuket Gazette yesterday.

“Also, we checked the water conditions thinking that perhaps an influx of cold, less-oxygenated water transferred with more oxygenated water in the reef areas. However, that was not the case,”

The other possibility is humans, Mr Ukkrit said.

“We have contacted people within our network and asked them to keep an eye out for any possible illegal fishing that might have caused the deaths. At this point, however, we do not want to make any unsubstantiated allegations,” he explained.

“I have also contacted the Phuket Office of the Department of Marine and Coastal Resources (DMCR) for additional ideas on what could be done to prevent the deaths from continuing.”

After the reports concerning the dead fish off Koh Racha Yai, reports of dozens of dead fish found along Nai Harn Beach surfaced.

“We cannot do this alone. People must not be afraid to contact us if they are able to document illegal fishing,” said Department of Marine and Coastal Resources (DMCR) Region 5 Chief Tanet Munnoy.