10-year-old Cambodian girl dies from bird flu
PHNOM PENH, CAMBODIA (BNO NEWS) — A ten-year-old girl from southwestern Cambodia has died from bird flu after preparing sick chickens for food, the country’s health ministry confirmed on Tuesday. It is the third bird flu death in the country so far this year.
The Cambodian Health Ministry said the child became ill on May 20 after preparing sick chickens for food in Pring Village in the Bosedth District of Kampong Speu province. Her symptoms included fever and shortness of breath, and the girl was admitted to Kantha Bopha Hospital in Phnom Penh on Friday.
The Cambodian Pasteur Institute diagnosed her with H5N1 influenza on Saturday, but doctors were unable to save her. “Unfortunately, despite intensive medical care, she died on Sunday,” the health ministry said in a brief statement, adding that there is evidence of recent poultry deaths in Pring Village.
Sunday’s bird flu fatality is the third in Cambodia so far this year, following the death of a six-year-old girl from Kbal Koh village in Kampong Trolach District of Kampong Chhnang province on March 30. It was the first ever confirmed case of H5N1 influenza in Kampong Chhnang province.
“Avian influenza H5N1 is still a threat to the health of Cambodians,” health minister Mam Bun Heng said in April after the second bird flu death of the year. “Children still seem to be most vulnerable. I urge parents and guardians to keep children away from sick or dead poultry, discourage them from playing in areas where poultry stay and wash their hands often.”
Since 2003, the H5N1 bird flu virus has killed or forced the culling of more than 400 million domestic poultry worldwide and caused an estimated $20 billion in economic damage before it was eliminated from most of the 63 infected countries.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the bird flu virus has infected at least 604 people since it first appeared, killing 357 of them. Most cases and deaths were recorded in Indonesia, Vietnam, Egypt and China. Cambodia registered a total of eight fatal cases of human infection in 2011.