21st 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 21st case this year and the 42nd person to become infected with the H5N1 virus in Cambodia. Of the 42 confirmed cases, 31 were children under 14, and 25 of the 42 were female. In addition, only 10 cases out of the 21 cases this year survived.

The 21st case, an 8-year-old girl from O-Raing village, Pung Ror commune, Baray district in Kampong Thom province confirmed positive for human H5N1 avian influenza on 17th October 2013 by Institut Pasteur du Cambodge. The girl developed fever on 8th October 2013, together with sneezing. On 9th October 2013, her parents sought treatment for her in the village clinic. On 10th October 2013, the girl developed a cough together with fever and vomiting and her parents sought treatment for her outside the village at a private clinic in Taing Kor in Kampong Thom province. On 11th October 2013, the girl’s condition worsened and the private clinic referred her to the Jayavarman VII Hospital in Siem Reap.

The girl was admitted to the Jayavarman VII Hospital, on 11th October, with fever, cough, vomiting and dyspnea. Laboratory samples were taken on 11th October and 14th October 2013 and Tamiflu administered on 14th October 2013. The girl is currently in a stable condition.

Investigations by the Ministry of Health’s Rapid Response Teams (RRT) in O-Raing village revealed that the girl had come into direct contact with dead poultry when she helped prepare a meal from a chicken that had died earlier.

The Ministry of Health’s RRTs and the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fishery’s Animal Health Task Force are working together closely in O-Raing village in Kampong Thom to investigate and implement control measures. The RRTs are trying to identify the cases’ close contacts, any epidemiological linkage among the 21 cases and initiate preventive treatment as required. The Animal Health Task Force is investigating cases of poultry deaths in the villages.

"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. There have been 21 cases 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 thoroughly wash their hands with soap and water before eating and after any contact with poultry. Hands may carry the virus that cannot be seen by the naked eye. Soap cleans the virus on hands. If children have fast or difficult breathing, their parents 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 nationwide public health education campaign using radio has been launched in early October. Also, public health education campaigns are being conducted in O-Raing village in Kampong Thom 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 with soap and water, before eating and after coming into contact with poultry; 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 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

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

Share