The United Nations Cambodia website has posted the following joint statement issued by the World Health Organization and the Cambodian Ministry of Health on that country’s latest H5N1 case, which I reported on earlier today (see Cambodia Reports 8th H5N1 Case Of The Year).
Joint Press Release from the Ministry Of Health and the World Health Organization (WHO)
Phnom Penh, 21 February 2013
The Ministry of Health (MoH) of the Kingdom of Cambodia wishes to advise members of the public that one more new human case of avian influenza has been confirmed positive for the H5N1 virus.
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
The eighth case, a 20-month-old boy from Ang Romduol village, Angkor Chey commune, Angkor Chey district in Kampot province, was found positive for influenza H5N1 on 19 February 2013 by Institut Pasteur du Cambodge.
He developed fever and a runny nose on 6 February 2013 and was initially treated by local private practitioners. His condition worsened and he was admitted to Kantha Bopha Hospital on 18 February 2013 with fever, cough and dyspnea and died on 19 February 2013. There is evidence of recent deaths among poultry in the village.
The boy is the eighth person this year and the 29th person to become infected with H5N1 virus, and the 26th person to die from complications of the disease in Cambodia. Of the 29 confirmed cases, 20 were children under 14, and 19 of the 29 were female.
"Avian influenza H5N1 remains a serious threat to the health of Cambodians, especially children,” said HE Dr. Mam Bunheng, Minister of Health.
“This is the eighth case of H5N1 infection in humans this year, and children still seem to be most vulnerable. Children are at high risk because they may play where poultry are found and 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 wash their hands with soap and water after any contact with poultry. If they have fast or difficult breathing, they should seek medical attention at the nearest health facility and attending physicians must be made aware of any exposure to sick or dead poultry.”
“The greatest risk of exposure to the virus is through the handling and slaughter of infected poultry. Home slaughtering and preparation of sick or dead poultry for food is hazardous: this practice must be stopped.”
The Ministry of Health's Rapid Response Teams (RRTs) have gone to the hospital and the field to identify the boy’s close contacts, any epidemiological linkage among the eight cases and to 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.
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.
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