Cambodian girl dies from H5N1 infection

Aug 19, 2011 (CIDRAP News) – Cambodia's health ministry has confirmed that a 6-year-old girl died from an H5N1 avian influenza infection, the World Health Organization (WHO) announced today.

The girl, from Kampong Cham province in eastern Cambodia, got sick Aug 7 and was first treated by local healthcare providers, the WHO said. After her condition didn't improve she was admitted to Kantha Bopha Children's Hospital in Phnom Penh on Aug 12, where she died 2 days later.

Her infection and death raise Cambodia's H5N1 toll to 18 cases and 16 deaths, the WHO said.

Cambodia has reported eight H5N1 cases this year, all of them fatal. Though a recent report from German researchers noted that the overall case-fatality rate for the disease has declined over the past 5 years, it has been lethal in Cambodia, which reported its first cases in 2005 and has had only two patients who survived their infections.

Cambodia's latest case raises the world's H5N1 total to 565 cases, which include 331 deaths.

An investigation into the source of the girl's illness suggests that she had been exposed to sick poultry. There were recent reports of poultry die-offs in the girl's village.

National and local response teams are conducting an outbreak investigation, according to the WHO report. So far none of the girl's contacts have tested positive for the H5N1 virus.

See also:

Aug 19 WHO statement

Aug 12 CIDRAP News story

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