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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Bird flu outbreak hits Kandal province: MoH

Bird flu outbreak hits Kandal province: MoH

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Nineteen-year-old man being treated for the H5N1 virus as local officials attempt to prevent any further spread of the deadly flu

AFP

A worker carries chickens from a pickup truck at a market in Phnom Penh on Friday. A new outbreak of bird flu in Cambodia has infected a 19-year-old local man.

 

Bird Flu Facts

  • Toll Nearly 250 people have died of bird flu since 2003.
  • Cambodia Seven prior cases have been diagnosed in Cambodia - all of them fatal.
  • Source The virus is said to orginate from wild birds, but only when the virus infects domestic poultry does it become lethal.
  • Infection Humans mostly get infected through contact with nasal secretions, saliva or feces from an infected bird.
  • Symptoms Fever, diarrhoea and respiratory distress.

SOURCE: WHO AND BIRD-FLU-FACTS.ORG

THE government over the weekend called on villagers in Kandal province to take precautions following a new outbreak of bird flu that infected a 19-year-old man in Cheung Koeub commune last week.

The outbreak occurred in Kandal province's Kandal Steung district on the outskirts of Phnom Penh, and is the first confirmed infection of the deadly H5N1 virus in Cambodia this year, the Ministry of Health and the World Health Organisation said in a joint statement.

Kao Phal, director of the Animal Health and Production Department at the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, said residents are currently being trained about how to prevent the spread of avian flu.

He said authorities are also urging everyone to report any dead or sick chickens to local officials immediately.

"We have cleaned villages by spraying protective medicine," Kao Phal told the Post. "Many residents raise chickens for family use, so they don't know much about bird flu."

Dr Sok Touch, director of the Communicable Disease Control Department at the Ministry of Health, said the infected man's condition is improving.

"He remains under examination by doctors and will not be allowed to leave the hospital yet," Sok Touch told the Post.

He said the patient, currently being treated at Calmette Hospital, began to show bird flu symptoms of fever, cough, muscle aches and a sore throat on November 28. Infection was confirmed on Thursday after testing at the National Influenza Center in Phnom Penh.

"The disease has not threatened his life because we treated it in time. The Ministry of Health is currently looking for other people who might have fever or cough, or who have had contact with dead poultry in the area," he said.

Lotfi Allal, chief technical adviser for the UN's Food and Agriculture Organisation, said teams are investigating the area but have not yet found the source of the infection.

"Our work is not yet finished. We have to target the farmers around the area," he said, adding that information from the infected man does not correspond with reports from area residents on how and when the infection occurred.

The Japanese embassy in Phnom Penh announced in a statement that it would provide Cambodia with more than 12,000 courses of Tamiflu antiviral medication and protective gear for up to 35,000 people to assist in efforts to combat the spread of the virus.

"Prevention and containment of pandemic influenza outbreaks is a common challenge in East Asia," said the statement, issued on Friday.

"This disease is preventable," Kao Phal said. "The important thing is to prevent the transmission from chicken to human."

The latest infection is the eighth confirmed case of the avian flu in Cambodia. The previous seven cases died.

ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY AFP

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