Overnight Xinhua News has reported that an eighth human case of H5N1 infection – a two year old boy from Kampot Province in southern Cambodia – died on Tuesday.
This latest case, once confirmed by the World Health Organization, would take Cambodia’s total to 29 human cases, of which 26 have proved fatal.
While we await an official statement from the Cambodian Health Ministry & the WHO Western Pacific Regional Office (WPRO), we have this report via Xinhua News.
English.news.cn 2013-02-21 11:41:57
PHNOM PENH, Feb. 21 (Xinhua) -- Cambodia reported on Thursday that another 2-year-old boy died of Avian Influenza H5N1, bringing the death toll to seven and the number of cases to eight in 2013.
The toddler lived in Angkor Chey district of Southwestern Kampot province. He died of the virus in the early hours of Tuesday morning at the Kantha Bopha Hospital in Phnom Penh, 18 hours after he was admitted, Dr. Denis Laurent, deputy director of Kantha Bopha Children's Hospital, told Xinhua over telephone on Thursday.
"He passed away even though our doctors did all their best to save him," he said.
Last week, a 3-year-old girl from the same district also died of the virus at the hospital.
The country sees the worst outbreak of the virus this year since the disease was first identified in Jan. 2004. To date, the country has reported 29 human cases of the virus, killing 26 people.
No word is provided in this report on this child’s likely route of exposure.
To date, most cases have had a history of direct contact with infected birds. While Cambodia is experiencing an unusual level of H5N1 activity, so far we’ve not seen any evidence of human-to-human transmission.
For now, H5N1 remains primarily an avian adapted virus - and only rarely infects humans – usually as the result of direct contact with infected birds.
The concern is that over time, the virus may adapt better to human physiology and someday pose a larger public health threat.