Cambodia reports 2 more H5N1 cases, both fatal

Jan 28, 2013 (CIDRAP News) – Two Cambodian children died of H5N1 avian influenza infections today, raising the nation's 2013 H5N1 death toll to four and its case total to five, according to an Associated Press (AP) report.

Cambodia has had more H5N1 cases and deaths this month than in all of 2012, when, according to World Health Organization figures, there were three cases, all fatal.

The WHO office in Cambodia said a 17-month-old girl from Kampong Speu province and a 9-year-old girl from Kampot province died of avian flu today after being hospitalized, according to the AP story.

The AP gave no further details on the two cases, but a report today in the Phnom Penh Post said a 2-year-old girl from Kampong Speu was diagnosed with H5N1 Jan 26 after being hospitalized in Phom Penh. The story said that more than 40 chickens at her home had died earlier.

Cambodia reported three human H5N1 cases, two of them fatal, last week. An 8-month-old boy from Phnom Penh recovered, but a 15-year-old girl from Takeo province and a 35-year-old man from Kampong Speu succumbed to the disease.

If the five cases reported last week and today are recognized by the WHO, Cambodia's overall H5N1 toll will rise to 26 cases with 23 deaths.

Meanwhile, Cambodian officials said H5N1 recently killed 2,304 chickens and ducks in Takeo province's Snau village, home of the 15-year-old who died last week, according to a report the officials filed with the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE). The report referred to the deceased girl as a 17-year-old.

On Jan 22, after learning of the teenager's death, a team from the National Veterinary Research Institute went to the village to investigate and take samples from chickens and ducks, the OIE report said. They learned that a poultry outbreak there had begun Jan 9.

After identifying the virus, officials destroyed another 4,743 backyard poultry in the village, according to the report. The team disinfected the involved premises and, according to the Post story, banned importing of any more poultry into the village for a month.

A WHO spokesman in Phnom Penh, Sonny Inbaraj Krishnan, said TV and radio ads will be used this week to warn and educate people about H5N1 and how to protect themselves, according to a Voice of America (VOA) story published today.

The VOA story noted that the upcoming Chinese New Year celebrations, starting Feb 10, could increase the risk of spreading H5N1, because large numbers of poultry are brought to markets during that time.

See also:

Jan 27 OIE report

Jan 28 VOA story

Related Jan 25 CIDRAP News story

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