Cambodia identifies ninth case of H5N1 in 2013

Public health officials in Cambodia recently reported finding another human case of H5N1 avian influenza, bringing the total number of cases seen to nine since the beginning of 2013.

The latest case is a 35-year-old man from Kbal Ou village in Kampong Cham province whose infection was confirmed by the Institut Pasteur du Cambodge. He reportedly developed a fever on February 8. His symptoms soon worsened to include frequent cough and dyspnea, according to the World Health Organization.

Initially, the man was treated by local private doctors, but his conditioned deteriorated rapidly. By February 13 he was taken to Kampong Cham hospital where he was treated with Tamiflu. He developed pneumonia a week later and was then transferred to Calmette Hospital in Phnom Penh, where he died on February 25.

The man had a history of coming into contact with sick poultry shortly before he fell ill, and there is evidence of recent sickness and death among poultry in his village.

"Avian influenza H5N1 remains a serious threat to the health of all Cambodians," Cambodian Minister of Health Dr. Mam Bunheng said. "This is the ninth case of H5N1 infection in humans this year. The greatest risk of exposure to the virus is through the handling and slaughter of infected poultry. Home slaughtering and preparation of sick or dead poultry for food is hazardous: this practice must stop."