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Published On: Wed, Oct 23rd, 2013

Cambodia reports 21st human H5N1 avian influenza case of 2013

The Ministry of Health (MoH) of the Kingdom of Cambodia announced Tuesday the confirmation of a new human case of avian influenza H5N1 in a 8-year-old girl from  Kampong Thom province, according to a joint news release from  the Ministry of Health of the Kingdom of Cambodia and the World Health Organization.

H5N1 avian influenza Image/CDC

H5N1 avian influenza
Image/CDC

The girl was confirmed positive for the serious virus  on 17th October 2013 by Institut Pasteur du Cambodge. She developed fever on 8th October 2013, together with sneezing. On 9th October 2013, her parents sought treatment for her in the village clinic. On 10th October 2013, the girl developed a cough together with fever and vomiting and her parents sought treatment for her outside the village at a private clinic in Taing Kor in Kampong Thom province. On 11th October 2013, the girl’s condition worsened and the private clinic referred her to the Jayavarman VII Hospital in Siem Reap.

The girl was admitted to the Jayavarman VII Hospital, on 11th October, with fever, cough, vomiting and dyspnea. Laboratory samples were taken on 11th October and 14th October 2013 and Tamiflu administered on 14th October 2013. The girl is currently in a stable condition.

She is  the 21st case this year and the 42nd person to become infected with the H5N1 virus in Cambodia. Of the 42 confirmed cases, 31 were children under 14, and 25 of the 42 were female. In addition, only 10 cases out of the 21 cases this year survived.

Investigations by the Ministry of Health’s Rapid Response Teams (RRT) in O-Raing village revealed that the girl had come into direct contact with dead poultry when she helped prepare a meal from a chicken that had died earlier.

Cambodian Minister of Health, H.E. Dr. Mam Bunheng made the following statement:

“Avian influenza H5N1 remains a serious threat to the health of all Cambodians and more so for children, who seem to be most vulnerable and are at high risk. There have been 21 cases of H5N1 infection in humans this year. Children often care for domestic poultry by feeding them, cleaning pens and gathering eggs. Children may also have closer contact with poultry as they often treat them as pets and also seem to be most vulnerable and are at high risk because they like to play where poultry are found. I urge parents and guardians to keep children away from sick or dead poultry and prevent them from playing with chickens and ducks. Parents and guardians must also make sure children thoroughly wash their hands with soap and water before eating and after any contact with poultry. Hands may carry the virus that cannot be seen by the naked eye. Soap cleans the virus on hands. If children have fast or difficult breathing, their parents should seek medical attention at the nearest health facility and attending physicians must be made aware of any exposure to sick or dead poultry.”

A nationwide public health education campaign using radio has been launched in early October. Also, public health education campaigns are being conducted in O-Raing village in Kampong Thom using information, education and communications materials to inform families on how to protect themselves from contracting avian influenza. The government’s message is – wash hands often with soap and water, before eating and after coming into contact with poultry; keep children away from poultry; keep poultry away from living areas; do not eat dead or sick poultry; and all poultry eaten should be well cooked.

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About the Author

- Writer, Co-Founder and Executive Editor of The Global Dispatch. Robert has been covering news in the areas of health, world news and politics for a variety of online news sources. He is also the Editor-in-Chief of the website, Outbreak News Today and hosts the podcast, Outbreak News Interviews on iTunes, Stitcher and Spotify Robert is politically Independent and a born again Christian Follow @bactiman63

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