PHNOM PENH — Two Cambodians have already died from bird flu in 2013, making a worrying start to the year.
Now a two-year-old Cambodian girl is in a serious condition in Phnom
Penh after being hospitalized with the H5N1 virus, also known as avian,
or bird, flu.
Sonny Inbaraj Krishnan, the communications officer for the World Health Organization in Phnom Penh, says the development has health professionals concerned.
“This is the fourth case this month of human influenza H5N1," Krishnan
said. "Last year we had three cases, so within one month in the new year
we've got four cases, and we're quite concerned about that.”
Over the weekend officials culled and
burned more than 4,000 chickens and ducks in the village that was home
to the 15-year-old victim.
“Well our specific worry is that this H5N1
virus could undergo what we call a recombination and then re-assortment
with another influenza virus," he explained, "and that could give rise
to a new virus that is transmittable between humans - so that’s our main
Cambodia is a predominantly agricultural nation, and every village has
its chickens and ducks. Health ministry staff are monitoring those who
came into contact with the patients who were infected, and teams from
the agriculture ministry are testing poultry in the affected villages
and destroying sick birds.