The Ministry of Health of the Kingdom of Cambodia said on Monday that a new human case of H5N1 avian influenza has been confirmed in Kampot province, bringing the total to 56 cases.
The patient was a 2-year-old girl in Kandal village, Vat And Khang Tboung commune, Banteay Meas district. She developed a fever on March 8 and was taken to receive medical care on the same day. She was admitted to a private clinic on March 10 and moved to a hospital on March 13, where she died on March 14.
Her symptoms included fever, cough and dyspnea. The healthcare provider administered Tamiflu on March 13.
During investigation, it was discovered that chickens started dying in the girl's village and in her house at the beginning of February. The girl had direct contact with the dead poultry, which her family prepared and consumed.
"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," Minister of Health Mam Bunheng said. "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."
Bunheng said that parents should seek immediate medical attention if children have fast or difficult breathing. Healthcare providers should be made aware of any exposure to sick or dead poultry.
MoH said national and local response teams will continue to monitor outbreaks and conduct investigations. A national public health education campaign launched on the radio at the end of January, and education programs have been initiated in Kandal village, Kampot province.