Cambodia reports H5N1 death, zoo outbreak

Jul 29, 2011 (CIDRAP News) – Cambodia's health ministry today announced today that a 4-year-old girl died from an avian influenza infection, a day after the country's animal health officials reported that the virus struck a zoo in a different province.

The girl, from Banteay Meanchey province in the northwestern part of the country, died Jul 20, the ministry and the World Health Organization (WHO) said in a joint statement, Agence France-Presse (AFP) reported. Her death is Cambodia's seventh this year and pushes its number of H5N1 cases to 17, including 15 deaths.

The report did not mention if the girl had been exposed to sick or dead birds, but Cambodia's health minister, Mam Bun Heng, warned parents and guardians to keep children away from them, according to the AFP report.

Yesterday Cambodia's agriculture ministry reported an H5N1 outbreak that killed 19 wild birds at a Phnom Tamao zoo in Takeo province, located in the southern part of the country, according to a report to the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE).

The bird deaths started Jul 13 at the zoo's rescue center, where workers feed the wild birds fish distributed on the banks of a pond during the rainy season (June through December). Zoo workers originally suspected Newcastle disease or fowl cholera, and they buried the carcasses and disinfected the area.

The virus killed 19 birds, and 10 more sick ones were destroyed to control the spread of the virus, according to the report.

Investigators aren't sure where the birds are from, but they suspect the Tonle Sap River, which expands into a large lake during the rainy season, flooding nearby fields and forests. A team from the National Veterinary Research Institute and the zoo conducted an investigation and surveillance in neighboring villages.

See also:

Jul 28 OIE report

Tonle Sap River Wikipedia entry

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