PHNOM PENH: An eleven-year-old girl in Cambodia has died from bird flu, the country’s first fatality from the virus in years, health authorities said.
The World Health Organization has called for vigilance after the recent detection of bird flu in mammals, but has stressed that the risk to humans is low.
The girl fell ill on Feb 16 with a fever, cough and sore throat, and later died in hospital, Cambodia’s Communicable Disease Control Department said on Wednesday (Feb 22).
It did not specify the time of death, but said that test results delivered on Wednesday confirmed that the girl – who was from eastern Prey Veng province – was “positive for H5N1”, referring to the bird flu virus.
The disease typically spreads from birds to humans through direct contact.
Officials were waiting for test results from several dead birds found near the girl’s village, Cambodia’s health ministry said.
In a statement, health minister Mam Bunheng urged parents to keep their children away from poultry as well as sick or dead birds.
The case is the 57th recorded instance of bird flu since the virus hit Cambodia two decades ago.