The World Health Organisation (WHO) has urged governments in Asia not to rush to declare avian influenza under control prematurely.

WHO’s Manila-based spokesman Peter Cordingley commented: “This virus is still spreading, no matter what some authorities are saying about it being under control. It is spreading on a daily basis.”

Thailand and Vietnam, the two countries in which all the human cases have been reported, have been talking about declaring victory over the aggressive H5N1 virus in a matter of weeks, which Cordingley said would be extremely dangerous, the National Post reported.

“If you restock too soon and the virus is still in the environment and you get a second infection in a restocked flock, then you have an endemic situation where the virus is embedded in the region and risk a recurrence every flu season,” Cordingley said.

A four-year-old boy died in Thailand yesterday, the country’s seventh human victim of the disease.