The results of 29 samples taken from people known to have been in contact with an 11-year-old girl who died of H5N1 bird flu last week – including her father’s – were all negative, according to a senior health official.

The girl died of H5N1 bird flu on February 22 in Romlech commune’s Rolaing village of Prey Veng province’s Sithor Kandal district.

Ministry of Health secretary of state Youk Sambath said the samples were tested by the Institut Pasteur du Cambodge (IPC) and the National Institute of Public Health (NIPH). Authorities are continuing to follow the case closely.

“We have tested those who were in direct contact with the girl and their results were negative, including her father. We are searching for other contacts and continuing to educate people to observe health measures,” she said.

Sambath said that despite the negative results of the tests, officials are continuing to work closely with local authorities across the country, and are sharing recommended health measures via television and social media.

Prey Veng provincial information department director Nhem Saokry said on February 26 that health officials and authorities are monitoring the area where the case occurred and are prepared to react swiftly should more cases be discovered.

He said the girl’s father, who was hospitalised, is expected to make a full recovery soon.

“The H5N1 bird flu case had not spread to other villages [as of February 26],” he noted.

Health ministry spokeswoman Or Vandine said a ministry working group was working closely with Prey Veng provincial authorities, as well as the provincial health department and veterinary officials, to identify any other potential contacts.

“First of all, we are looking for people who may have had direct contact with the deceased girl and her 49-yer-old father,” she added.

“Health officials have asked the people in the area to observe precautionary measures and have asked them to report any suspected cases to authorities as soon as possible,” she continued.

She called on people to protect themselves with gloves while handling poultry, and to wash their hands frequently.