Apr 21, 2010 (CIDRAP News) – Cambodia's health ministry today announced that a 27-year-old man died of H5N1 avian influenza, while the World Health Organization (WHO) confirmed two previously reported cases in Vietnam and ruled out human-to-human transmission.
The Cambodian man, whose case is the country's first of the year, lived in the eastern part of the country in Prey Veng province, the Associated Press (AP) reported today. Few other details were available about the case, and the health ministry said it is investigating the man's illness and death. He will be listed as Cambodia's 10th H5N1 case and its 8th death from the disease.
Meanwhile, the WHO today confirmed the H5N1 infections of two Vietnamese patients who are part of a suspected case cluster. The patients, a 22-year-old man and a 2-year-old girl are both from Bac Kan province in the northern part of the country. Their illnesses raise the number of H5N1 cases in Vietnam to 119, of which 59 have been fatal.
Previous news reports said the area where the two live had mass poultry deaths and that at least four other people with flulike symptoms were isolated and treated with antiviral medication. Reports of suspected and confirmed H5N1 infection clusters raise fears that the virus is becoming more transmissible among humans and could become a pandemic flu strain. However, the WHO said an epidemiologic investigation has found no link between the two patients that would suggest human-to-human transmission.
A WHO statement suggests both had similar exposure to the virus. It said an initial investigation revealed sick and dead poultry around both patients' homes and in surrounding areas. It said the girl's family had recently slaughtered sick poultry to eat.
The man is listed in critical condition at National Hospital of Tropical Diseases, and the girl is in stable condition at Cho Moi District Hospital.
The newly confirmed Vietnamese H5N1 cases raise the global H5N1 total to 495 cases, which includes 292 deaths.
Apr 21 WHO statement