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Published On: Wed, Sep 4th, 2013

Phnom Penh toddler is the 18th H5N1 bird flu case this year in Cambodia

A 15-month-old boy in the Phnom Penh, Russei Keo district has been diagnosed with H5N1 virus, bringing the number of the cases to 18 so far this year, according to a Xinhua report Wednesday.

The official statement from the Health Ministry/World Health Organization has not been published online yet.

Image/CIA

Image/CIA

According to the Chinese news source, the boy was confirmed positive for human H5N1 avian influenza last Friday after he was admitted to the Kantha Bopha Hospital with fever, cough, diarrhea, sneezing, lethargy and dyspnea.

He was treated with Tamiflu and is currently in stable condition.

The investigation into how the child contracted the potentially lethal virus is ongoing.

According to the WHO, the H5N1 virus subtype  (different from the H7N9 strain circulating in the current China outbreak)   – a highly pathogenic AI virus- first infected humans in 1997 during a poultry outbreak in Hong Kong SAR, China. Since its widespread re-emergence in 2003 and 2004, this avian virus has spread from Asia to Europe and Africa and has become entrenched in poultry in some countries, resulting in millions of poultry infections, several hundred human cases, and many human deaths.

The case fatality rate for H5N1 virus infections in people is much higher compared to that of seasonal influenza infections.

Clinically, in many patients, the disease caused by the H5N1 virus follows an unusually aggressive clinical course, with rapid deterioration and high fatality. Like most emerging disease, H5N1 influenza in humans is poorly understood.

The incubation period for H5N1 avian influenza may be longer than that for normalseasonal influenza, which is around two to three days. Current data for H5N1 infection indicate an incubation period ranging from two to eight days and possibly as long as 17 days. WHO currently recommends that an incubation period of seven days be used for field investigations and the monitoring of patient contacts.

Initial symptoms include a high fever, usually with a temperature higher than 38oC, and other influenza-like symptoms. Diarrhoea, vomiting, abdominal pain, chest pain, and bleeding from the nose and gums have also been reported as early symptoms in some patients.

One feature seen in many patients is the development of lower respiratory tract early in the illness. On present evidence, difficulty in breathing develops around five days following the first symptoms. Respiratory distress, a hoarse voice, and a crackling sound when inhaling are commonly seen. Sputum production is variable and sometimes bloody.

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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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