Bird flu deaths reach five in Cambodia
Phnom Penh - Five people have died from bird flu in Cambodia this year, authorities said Friday, up from three for the whole of 2012.
The fifth fatality from the H5N1 virus was a 5-year-old from Takeo province, who died in hospital on Thursday, said Sonny Inbaraj Krishnan, a spokesman for the World Health Organization (WHO).
A sixth victim recovered in January, he said, adding that no human cases of bird flu have been reported outside Cambodia this year.
A team from the Ministry of Health had travelled to the girl’s village to test residents and advise them on how to avoid infection,he said.
"They will take swabs and draw blood and test it for the virus soas to rule out human-to-human transmission." All human cases of H5N1 have been infected by contact with poultry, but health professionals fear the virus could combine with another or mutate and gain the ability to pass between people.
The authorities in Takeo province in south-eastern Cambodia were also checking that infected birds are not moved. Last month agriculture teams culled 4,700 chickens and ducks in Takeo after another death from the disease.
In 2011 the WHO recorded eight Cambodian deaths from bird flu, the country’s highest toll since the virus was first detected in thecountry in 2005.
The disease has killed 365 people out of 616 infected worldwide in the past decade, the WHO said.//DPA