Cambodia's first H5N1 fatality of the year was made official by Siem Reap hospital officials yesterday.
A 2-year-old boy from Banteay Meanchey’s Preah Netr Preah district, who was first diagnosed with H5N1, commonly known as bird flu, last Thursday, died early yesterday morning, his father told the Post yesterday.
“I am so miserable that my son has died because of this disease,” 25-year-old Han Heak said. “The hospital will not allow me to take my son’s body back to my home because of quarantine and to avoid further infections to other people.”
Han Heak said he had taken his son to be buried at a pagoda in Siem Reap province instead, after hospital officials had dressed him with a face mask and gloves to transport his son by car to the pagoda.
The boy, from La Peak village, first fell ill on January 3 and was later hospitalised at the Angkor Hospital for Children in Siem Reap, Ministry of Health and World Health Organisation officials said on Friday.
Mean Neng, La Peak village chief, said that local authorities and health officials continue to warn villagers to be careful and avoid eating or touching sick or dead poultry.
“I broadcast about how to protect and avoid H5N1 influenza infections in the village every day by playing the loud speaker in order that villagers do not forget,” Mean Neng said.
Mean Neng said that the boy’s house had been quarantined since the diagnosis was confirmed and that villagers were only allowed within two metres of the house if they were wearing face masks.
“The health officials keep watching and staying in the village in order to follow up the villagers’ health,” he said.
“There have been no other poultry fall sick or die since.”
According to the statement, the boy is the 19th person in Cambodia to have been diagnosed with the virus.