15th and 16th New Human Cases of Avian Influenza H5N1 in Cambodia in 2013

Joint Press Release Between the Ministry of Health of the Kingdom of Cambodia and the World Health Organization
13 August 2013

WHO Cambodia
Improper transport of poultry risks the spread of the H5N1 virus.

The Ministry of Health (MoH) of the Kingdom of Cambodia wishes to advise members of the public that two more new human cases of avian influenza have been confirmed for the H5N1 virus. These are the 15th and 16th cases this year and the 36th and 37th persons to become infected with the H5N1 virus in Cambodia. Of the 37 confirmed, 26 were children under 14, and 22 of the 37 were female. In addition, only 7 cases out of the 16 cases this year survived.

The 15th case, a 9-year-old boy from Damnak Dangkor Village, Raing Kesey commune, Sang Ke district in Battambang province was confirmed positive for human H5N1 avian influenza on 9th August 2013 by Institut Pasteur du Cambodge. The boy developed fever and vomiting on 26th July. He was given home-treatment by a health centre staff. On 2nd August, his condition became worse and his parents took him to a private clinic in Battambang. The private clinic referred him to the Battambang Provincial Hospital the same day. On 4th August, he was transferred to the Jayavarman V11 Hospital in Siem Reap with fever, cough, vomit, abdominal pain and dyspnea and treated with Tamiflu on 9th August. The boy is currently in a stable condition. There were recent deaths among chickens and ducks in the village. The boy carried dead and sick ducks and chickens from a cage for food preparation by his sister before he became sick.

The 16th case, a 5-year-old girl from Knong Prek Village, Prek Koy commune, Saang district in Kandal province was confirmed positive for human H5N1 avian influenza on 10th August 2013 by Institut Pasteur du Cambodge. The girl developed fever on 1st August and her parents first sought treatment for her at the Health Center. On 2nd August she was taken to a private clinic. Her condition worsened and she was admitted to Kantha Bopha Hospital on 9th August with fever, cough, sore throat, abdominal pain, diarrhea and dyspnea. The girl was treated with Tamiflu on 10th August and is currently in a critical condition. There were recent deaths among poultry in the village.

"Avian influenza H5N1 remains a serious threat to the health of all Cambodians and more so for children. These are the 15th and 16thcases of H5N1 infection in humans this year. Children often care for domestic poultry by feeding them, cleaning pens and gathering eggs. Children may also have closer contact with poultry as they often treat them as pets and 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 Dam Nak Dangkor Village in Battambang and Knong Prek Village in Kandal to identify the patients’ close contacts, any epidemiological linkage among the 16 cases this year and initiate preventive treatment as required. In addition, a public health education campaign is being conducted in the village using information, education and communication materials 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 636 laboratory confirmed human cases of H5N1 avian influenza with 377 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

You may also 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 ReikoTsuyuoka: Tel +855 23 216 610

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