Tenth 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

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.

The tenth case, a five-year-old boy from Boeung Tapream village, Sangkat Treuy Kors, Kampong Bay district in Kampot province was confirmed positive for influenza H5N1 on 2nd April 2013 by Institut Pasteur du Cambodge. He developed fever, convulsions and dyspnea on 27th March 2013. On 28th March, his mother bought some medicines from a local pharmacy for him. His condition worsened and on 29th March he was taken to the Treuy Kors Health Centre. The boy was then referred to the Kampot Provincial Hospital the same day. On 31st March, his dyspnea worsened and he was sent to the Kantha Bopha Hospital in Phnom Penh. In Kantha Bopha Hospital, the boy has been treated with Tamiflu. He is currently in a critical condition.

It is not known whether the boy had direct contact with poultry. The boy is the tenth person this year and the 31st person to become infected with the H5N1 virus in Cambodia. Of the 31 confirmed cases, 21 were children under 14, and 19 of the 30 were female.

"Avian influenza H5N1 remains a serious threat to the health of all Cambodians. This is the tenth 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 ten 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 623 laboratory confirmed human cases of H5N1 avian influenza with 371 related deaths.

The Ministry of Health will continue to keep the public informed of developments via the MoH website www.cdcmoh.gov.kh 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
Dr Reiko Tsuyuoka: Tel +855 23 216 610