Cambodia records 1st death from H5N1 bird flu so far this year

Phnom Penh, Feb 10 (IANS) A nine-year-old boy from northeastern Cambodia’s Kratie province had died of H5N1 avian influenza, the first death from the virus in the country so far this year, the Ministry of Health said in a statement.

“Laboratory results from the National Institute of Public Health showed on Thursday that the boy was positive for H5N1 bird flu,” the Ministry said on Friday.

The boy was pronounced dead on Thursday, although the medical team had provided him intensive care, the Ministry said, adding that the victim had the symptoms of fever, rapid breathing, cough and coma, Xinhua news agency reported.

“According to queries, five chicken and three ducks had died at the boy’s house, and the dead poultry were cooked for food,” the Ministry said.

A team of health experts was looking into the source of the infection and examining any suspected cases or people who have been in contact with the victim in order to prevent an outbreak in the community, the Ministry added.

Tamiflu, an antiviral drug to prevent bird flu from spreading, was also given out to people who had direct contact with the boy, the Ministry said.

H5N1 influenza is a flu that normally spreads between sick poultry, but it can sometimes spread from poultry to humans, and its symptoms include fever, cough, running nose and severe respiratory illness.

The Ministry added that bird flu still poses threat to people’s health, especially children, calling on people not to eat ill or dead poultry.

A total of 65 cases of human infection with H5N1 influenza have been recorded since 2003, including 42 deaths in the Southeast Asian country, according to the Ministry.

–IANS

int/khz

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