BANGKOK, Aug 5 (Reuters) – A 27-year-old Thai man has died of bird flu, the country’s second death this year, officials said on Saturday, as they put eight more provinces, including the Bangkok area, on a bird flu watchlist. The man died on Thursday after the H5N1 virus killed chickens on his backyard farm in the province of Uthai Thani, 220 km (135 miles) north of Bangkok, the third province to suffer an outbreak since the virus re-emerged in July after an eight-month lull.

“He buried them without any protection and that’s why he caught bird flu,” Thawat Suntrajarn, chief of the Department of Disease Control, said of Thailand’s 16th victim since the disease swept through parts of Asia in late 2003.

The World Health Organization, which says bird flu killed at least 134 people worldwide before the latest Thai death, urged previously hard-hit countries to be vigilant. “Even in a country as well prepared as Thailand, it can come back and you can never rest easy,” said Chadin Tephaval, a spokesman for the WHO in Thailand.

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