Health officials in Prey Veng province have confirmed the death of an 11-year-old girl from H5N1, also known as bird flu. This is Cambodia’s first known human bird flu infection since 2014.
The girl began showing symptoms of fever, cough and sore throat on February 16. She was diagnosed Wednesday after suffering a fever of up to 39 Celsius (102 Fahrenheit). When her condition worsened, she was transferred to the National Children’s Hospital in Phnom Penh where she died on Wednesday.
Cambodia has tested at least 12 people for the H5N1 strain, after the death of the girl. The father of the deceased has tested positive for the virus but has not displayed any major symptoms, health authorities said Friday.
The statement did not disclose the test results of others in the group and did not specify how the girls father had contracted the virus.
The girl’s case is the first known human infection with the H5N1 strain in Southeast Asia since 2014.
The risk to humans remains low
Since last year, bird flu has wrecked farms around the world, leading to the deaths of more than 200 million birds, according to the World Organisation for Animal Health (WOAH).
The World Health Organization (WHO) noted earlier this month, that the spread of H5N1 influenza to other types of animals, has been on the rise, but says the risk to humans remains low.
H5N1 has spread among poultry and wild birds for 25 years, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told at a briefing, but recent reports of infections in mink, otters and sealions “need to be monitored closely”.
Cambodian health authorities urge people not to handle dead or sick animals and birds, and to contact a hotline if anyone suspect they have been infected by the disease.