Cambodian girl dies of H5N1 infection

Feb 9, 2011 (CIDRAP News) – Cambodia's health ministry has confirmed that a 5-year-old girl from Phnom Penh recently died from H5N1 avian influenza, the World Health Organization (WHO) said today.

She got sick on Jan 29 and was hospitalized on Feb 3, where she died 12 hours after admission, according to a statement from the WHO. An investigation revealed she had been exposed to sick poultry about a week before she became ill. The girl's infection raises Cambodia's number of H5N1 cases to 11 and pushes fatalities to 9.

Cambodia reported its last human H5N1 case on May 4, 2010. The presence of the H5N1 virus in the girl's nasopharyngeal sample was confirmed by the Pasteur Institute at Cambodia's National Influenza Center.

The country recently reported its first H5N1 poultry outbreak of the year, which struck 48 birds and led to the culling of 174 others in a village in Kandal province, located in the south central part of Cambodia, according to a Feb 7 report to the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE).

The WHO's confirmation of Cambodia's latest case raises the global H5N1 count to 520, of which 307 were fatal.

In a Feb 4 WHO update on human H5N1 cases, Cambodia is listed among the five countries that reported H5N1 infections in 2010. The others were China, Egypt, Indonesia, and Vietnam.

Since 2003, reported cases ranged in age from 3 months to 81 years, with a median age of 19. Children under age 9 are the hardest hit age-group, accounting for 29% of cases. However, the highest case-fatality rate, 73%, is in young people ages 10 to 19. Those 70 and older have the lowest death rate from the disease, 25%. The case-fatality rate among all age-groups is 59%.

Fifty-three percent of H5N1 cases since 2003 were in girls and women, according to the WHO update.

So far this year only Egypt and Cambodia have reported human H5N1 cases.

See also:

Feb 9 WHO statement

Feb 7 OIE report

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