18th New Human Case of Avian Influenza H5N1 in Cambodia in 2013

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

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 one new human case of avian influenza has been confirmed for the H5N1 virus. This is the 18th case this year and the 39th person to become infected with the H5N1 virus in Cambodia. Of the 39 confirmed, 28 were children under 14, and 22 of the 39 were female. In addition, only 8 cases out of the 18 cases this year survived.

The 18th case, a 15-month-old boy from village number 11, Sangkat Tuol Sangke, Khan Russey Keo, Phnom Penh municipality confirmed positive for human H5N1 avian influenza on 30th August 2013 by Instiut Pasteur du Cambodge. The child developed fever on 16th August and his family initially sought treatment in a private clinic. His condition later worsened and the child was admitted to Kantha Bopha Hospital on 26th August with fever, cough, diarrhea, sneezing, lethargy and dyspnea. Laboratory samples were taken and Tamiflu administered on 27th August. The boy is in a stable condition.

Investigations are being carried out by the Ministry of Health’s Rapid Response Teams (RRT) in village number 11, Khan Russey Keo, to determine whether the child came into contact with sick or dead poultry. The RRTs are also trying to identify the child’s close contacts, any epidemiological linkage among the 18 cases and initiate preventive treatment as required.

"Avian influenza H5N1 remains a serious threat to the health of all Cambodians and more so for children, who seem to be most vulnerable and are at high risk. This is the 18th case of H5N1 infection in humans this year. Parents and guardians must take special care to make sure their children are not playing with poultry, or in any areas that may be contaminated with poultry faeces, or feathers or liquid wastes. 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.

A public health education campaign is being conducted in village number 11, Khan Russey Keo, using information, education and communications 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.

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 Ministry of Health Influenza Hotline numbers: 115 (free call) or +855 12 488 981 or +855 89 669 567.

Ministry of Health
Dr Sok Touch:+855 12 856 848
Dr Ly Sovann: +855 12 825 424

World Health Organization
Dr Pieter JM van Maaren: +855 23 216 610
Dr Reiko Tsuyuoka: +855 23 216 610

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