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Toddler latest bird flu death in Cambodia

The three-year-old girl from Kampot province confirmed to have the year’s seventh case of bird flu in Cambodia died at Kantha Bopha hospital yesterday morning.

The girl had come in contact with poultry in her home village of Chrey Korng, where several chickens recently had died, before developing a fever and rash on February 3 and being admitted to Kantha Bopha after her condition worsened to include stomach pain and drowsiness, the World Health Organization (WHO) and Ministry of Health said yesterday.

“This is the highest we’ve seen in terms of monthly cases,” said Sonny Krishnan, communications officer for the WHO in Cambodia, noting that six had died from the
virus in the past three weeks.

Treatment by tamiflu within 48 hours of the onset of symptoms ought to prevent bird-flu-related deaths, but Cambodia sees a high rate of fatalities because “most arrive in public health facilities already in an advanced stage of the disease”, said Krishnan.

Since H5N1 emerged a decade ago, Cambodia has seen 28 of the world’s 619 cases, and 25 deaths from the virus.

Most victims have been young girls.

Swabs taken by a Ministry of Health rapid response team showed no signs of the virus among others in the girl’s village, Krishnan said, adding that samples would be taken again in two weeks.

To contact the reporter on this story: Justine Drennan at justine.drennan@phnompenhpost.com

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