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14 Jul 2013

14th new human case of avian influenza H5N1 in Cambodia in 2013 (WPRO, July 14 2013, edited)

[Source: World Health Organization, Regional Office for the Western Pacific, full page: (LINK).]

Fourteenth new human case of avian influenza H5N1 in Cambodia in 2013

Joint news release of the Ministry of Health of the Kingdom of Cambodia and World Health Organization

PHNOM PENH, 14 July 2013

The Ministry of Health (MoH) of the Kingdom of Cambodia wishes to advise members of the public that one more new human case of avian influenza has been confirmed positive for the H5N1 virus. This is the14th case this year and the 35th person to become infected with the H5N1 virus in Cambodia. Of the 35 confirmed cases, 24 were children under 14, and 21 of the 35 were female. In addition, only 5 cases out of 14 cases this year survived.

The 14th case, a three-year-old boy from Balang Village, Khan Som Ork commune, Kampong Trabek district in Prey Veng province was confirmed positive for human H5N1 avian influenza on 10th July 2013 by Institut Pasteur du Cambodge.

The boy developed fever on 3rd July and his grandfather treated him with oral medication purchased from the local village drugstore. On 6th July, he was taken to a private clinic as his fever did not improve. His condition worsened with cough and dyspnea. On 8th July the boy was admitted to Kantha Bopha Hospital with fever, cough and dyspnea. In Kantha Bopha Hospital, he was treated with Tamiflu on 9th July and is currently in a stable condition.

There were recent deaths among poultry in the village and the boy was likely to be exposed to sick and dead poultry before he became sick.

"Avian influenza H5N1 remains a serious threat to the health of all Cambodians. This is the 14th case of H5N1 infection in humans this year. Children also seem to be most vulnerable and are at high risk because they like to play where poultry are found. I urge parents and guardians to keep children away from sick or dead poultry and prevent them from playing with chickens and ducks. Parents and guardians must also make sure children wash their hands with soap and water after any contact with poultry. If they have fast or difficult breathing, they should seek medical attention at the nearest health facility and attending physicians must be made aware of any exposure to sick or dead poultry,” said H.E. Dr. Mam Bunheng, Minister of Health.

The Ministry of Health's Rapid Response Teams (RRT) are currently in the village to identify the boy’s close contacts, any epidemiological linkage among the 14 cases and initiate preventive treatment as required. In addition, a public health education campaign is being conducted in the village to inform families on how to protect themselves from contracting avian influenza. The government's message is - wash hands often; keep children away from poultry; keep poultry away from living areas; do not eat dead or sick poultry; and all poultry eaten should be well cooked.

H5N1 influenza is a flu that normally spreads between sick poultry, but it can sometimes spread from poultry to humans. Human H5N1 avian influenza is a very serious disease that requires hospitalization. Although the virus currently does not easily spread among humans, if the virus changes it could easily be spread like seasonal influenza. Hence, early recognition of cases is important.

Globally since 2003, there have been 633laboratory confirmed human cases of H5N1 avian influenza with 376 related deaths.

The Ministry of Health will continue to keep the public informed of developments via the MoH website where relevant health education materials can also be downloaded.

For more information on human influenza please call the MoH Influenza Hotline numbers: 115 (free call); 012 488 981 or 089 669 567

Or contact: Ministry of Health, Dr Sok Touch: Tel +855 12 856 848, Dr Ly Sovann: Tel +855 12 825 424 / World Health Organization, Dr Pieter JM van Maaren: Tel +855 23 216 610