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Cambodian man dies from bird flu

By Agence France-Presse Published Oct 09, 2023 10:01 am

A 50-year-old man has died from bird flu in Cambodia, the health ministry said on Sunday, Oct. 8, the second death from the virus recorded in the country this year.

The World Health Organization has called for vigilance after bird flu was detected in mammals, but has stressed that the risk to humans is low.

The ministry said that tests had confirmed the man—who has not been named, but is from eastern Svay Rieng province bordering Vietnam—was positive for bird flu virus H5N1 on Oct. 7.

Officials did not specify the man's time of death, but said health authorities are "investigating and researching this bird flu case."

The disease typically spreads from birds to humans through direct contact.

Officials said they were looking into the source of the infection, and were examining any suspected cases or people who may have been in contact with the victim.

The ministry said around 50 poultry, some belonging to the man and some owned by his neighbors, had died recently.

"The dead chickens were shared among villagers to eat," the health ministry statement said.

The ministry urged villagers to be vigilant about H5N1, which is "still a threat to the health of people, especially children."

The case is the 58th recorded instance of bird flu since the virus hit Cambodia two decades ago. In February, an eleven-year-old girl died from the virus.

Since late 2021, Europe has been gripped by its worst-ever outbreak of bird flu, with North and South America also experiencing severe outbreaks.

This has led to the culling of tens of millions of domestic poultry worldwide, many with the H5N1 strain.

The global outbreak is also responsible for the deaths of tens of thousands of wild birds.

The recent detection of the disease in a number of mammals, including foxes, otters, minks, sea lions, and even grizzly bears, has sparked concern that humans could be more at risk. (AFP)