H5N1 NEWS SCAN: Cambodian H5N1 death, H5N1 as select agent, avian flu outbreak in Bhutan

Feb 8, 2013

H5N1 kills Cambodian child
Cambodia's health ministry today announced another H5N1 avian flu death, pushing the country's number of cases this year to six, five of which have been fatal. The patient was a 5-year-old girl from Prey Kabass district in Takeo province who got sick on Jan 25 and was initially treated by local practitioners, according to a joint statement today from the ministry and the World Health Organization (WHO). Prey Kabass is in southern Cambodia, about 35 miles south of Phnom Penh. She was transferred to Kantha Bopha Hospital in Phnom Peh, where she died on Feb 7 despite intensive medical care. An investigation found that poultry in the girl's village had recently died and she had contact with poultry before she became ill. Health ministry teams are identifying and monitoring the girl's close contacts and exploring if there are any epidemiologic links between the six cases. The girl's infection and death raise Cambodia's number of H5N1 infections since 2005 to 27, including 24 deaths. Dr HE Mam Bunheng, the country's health minister, said in the statement that 18 of Cambodia's case-patients were children. He urged parents and guardians to keep children away from sick or dead poultry and to keep them from playing in areas where poultry are kept. The case raises the global number of WHO-confirmed H5N1 infections to 616, which includes 365 deaths.
Feb 8 WHO statement

HHS invites more comments on possible select-agent status for H5N1
The US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced today it will take comments for another month on whether highly pathogenic H5N1 avian flu viruses should be designated as HHS select agents. In a Federal Register notice, HHS officials said comments will be accepted until Mar 11. A select agent designation would mean that labs handling H5N1 viruses would have to register with HHS and meet special requirements for physical security and personnel screening and training. HHS originally invited comments on that issue on Oct 17, 2012, with a Dec 17 deadline, which was later extended to Jan 31. The comment period has been reopened because interested parties said they needed more time to present their views, according to Jason McDonald, a spokesman in the Division of Select Agents and Toxins at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Feb 8 Federal Register notice
Related Dec 26, 2012, CIDRAP News story

Bhutan confirms H5N1 outbreak in backyard poultry
Bhutan's agriculture ministry today reported an H5N1 outbreak in backyard poultry in three Sarpang district villages in the southern part of the country, according to a report today from the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE). The outbreak began on Jan 14, but the poultry deaths weren't immediately reported to authorities. As of Jan 18 the virus had killed 76 of 85,956 birds, and 832 were culled to control the spread of the disease.
Feb 8 OIE report

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