Joint Press Release by the Ministry of Health and the World Health Organisation (WHO)
Phnom Penh, 28 May 2012
The Ministry of Health (MoH) of the Kingdom of Cambodia wishes to advise members of the public that a 10 years old female from Pring Village, Toul Sala Commune, Bosedth District, Kampong Speu Province has been confirmed by the Institut Pasteur du Cambodge on 26th May 2012 with H5N1 influenza. She developed symptoms on 20th May 2012 and after initial treatment at the village was eventually admitted to Kantha Bopha Hospital on 25th May 2012 with symptoms of fever and shortness of breath. Unfortunately, despite intensive medical care, she died on 27th May 2012. There is evidence of recent deaths among poultry in the village and the patient prepared sick chicken for food prior to becoming sick.
The girl is the twenty first people in Cambodia to become infected with H5N1 virus, the third person this year and the nineteenth person to die from complications of the disease. Of all the twenty one cases, 14 were children under 14, and fourteen of the twenty one confirmed cases occurred in females.
"Avian influenza H5N1 is still a threat to the health of Cambodians. This is the second case of H5N1 infection in human this year, and children still seem to be most vulnerable. I urge parents and guardians to keep children away from sick or dead poultry, discourage them from playing in areas where poultry stay and wash their hands often. If they have fast or difficulty breathing, they should be brought to medical attention at the nearest health facilities and attending physicians be made aware of any exposure to sick or dead poultry." said HE Mam Bun Heng, Minister of Health.
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.
As in all previous cases, the Ministry of Health's Rapid Response Teams (RRT) have gone to the hospital and the field to identify the girl’s close contacts and initiate preventive treatment as required. In addition, a public health education campaign is being conducted in the village to inform families on how to protect themselves from contracting avian influenza. The government's message is - wash hands often; keep children away from poultry; keep poultry away from living areas; do not eat sick poultry; and all poultry eaten should be well cooked.
Globally since 2003, there have been 604 laboratory confirmed cases of avian influenza with 357 related deaths.
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: Tel +855 12 856 848
Dr Ly Sovann: Tel +855 12 825 424
World Health Organization
Dr Pieter Van Maaren: Tel +855 23 216 610
Dr Conchy Roces: Tel +855 23 216 610