The WHO's Krishnan said health teams have monitored the condition of
people who came in contact with the victims, adding that all had tested
negative for the virus. The government has also boosted the number of
television and radio spots warning of avian flu and telling people how
to protect themselves, and staff at health clinics in the affected
provinces will receive refresher training on avian flu in February.
However, two imminent events will add to the challenges of containing the spread of the disease.
The first is the February 4 cremation of Norodom Sihanouk, the country's
revered former king, in Phnom Penh. The government expects that more
than a million people will travel to the capital to pay their respects.
Many will bring food, including live poultry.
The other is Chinese New Year on February 10. In preparation for the
festival, large numbers of chickens and ducks are usually transported
ahead of that date to markets in the cities and towns.
Either event could promote the spread of the disease. On Tuesday,
government and UN health experts met to work out how best to prevent
that. Krishnan said officials would hand out information leaflets to
people coming to the capital to warn them of the risks and advise them
how to avoid contracting the disease. That includes not eating birds
that have died from illness, and cooking poultry thoroughly.
Most of the efforts underway are designed to ensure that people do not
get infected with avian flu in the first place. Once they do, the
chances of recovery are slim - not least due to the country's weak
healthcare system. In total, 23 Cambodians out of 26 infected to date
with avian flu have died - a fatality rate close on 90 percent, and well
above the global figure of nearly 60 percent.