Cambodian MOH announces 21st case of H5N1 infection this year

The Ministry of Health of the Kingdom of Cambodia announced on Tuesday the 21st case of avian influenza H5N1 infection this year and is advising Cambodians take precautions against the deadly infection.

Cambodia has reported 42 total cases of influenza H5N1 infections in the nation, 25 of whom were female and 31 of whom were children under the age of 14. Of the 21 cases reported this year, 11 led to deaths due to infection.

The most recent case of infection occurred with an eight-year-old girl from O-Raing village. The girl is currently hospitalized in stable condition. An investigation, conducted by the Ministry of Health's Rapid Response Teams, found that the infection was likely due to the girl handling dead poultry.

Investigations are still underway to determine if a link exists between the 21 cases of H5N1 infection reported this year in order to prevent a potential outbreak.

"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," Cambodian Minister of Health H.E. Dr. Mam Bunheng said. "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... 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."

Cambodia launched an education campaign via radio earlier in the month to inform the public of the risk of infection and offer recommendations for decreasing risk of infection.