15 Prey Veng Villagers Tested for Avian Flu

Fifteen Prey Veng province villagers who had been in contact with a 12-year-old avian influenza vic­tim prior to his death early Wed­nesday have been tested for bird flu, officials said Thursday.

Their blood samples have all been taken to the Pasteur Institute in Phnom Penh, though the re­sults have not yet been an­noun­ced, said Eang Phop, deputy health director of the province’s Mesang district.

“Health ministry officials took the blood of the 15 people who touch­ed the boy for tests,” Eang Phop said.

Toeur Teum, a native of the district’s Chy Phhoch commune, died after being delivered to Calmette Hospital in Phnom Penh, officials said.

Eang Phop said Toeur Teum’s family had 30 chickens, 13 of which had died, though he was un­certain whether they had died from the disease.

Hang Savuth, Mesang district gov­ernor, said that the boy had touched and then cooked the chicken after it died.

Local health officials have since told villagers about avoiding sick poultry and sprayed disinfectant in Prey Trakhop, the village where he lived, he said.

The UN Children’s Fund said in a statement Thursday that Aus­tra­lia has provided $765,000 to produce posters and educational television and radio spots and other campaign materials to combat bird flu.

“The project will enable the Min­is­try of Health, Unicef and other partners to substantially speed up communication for the prevention of avian influenza and pandemic pre­paredness and response,” the organization said in the statement.

At a press conference held to an­nounce the contribution, Health Minister Nuth Sokhom said that he would like television stations to air educational spots for free indefinitely.

Nuth Sokhom said four more re­ferral hospitals, in Battambang, Kam­pot, Stung Treng and Kom­pong Cham province, are to be equip­ped to deal with bird flu cas­es. Only Calmette Hospital and a re­ferral hospital in Siem Reap pro­v­ince are currently equipped to deal with H5N1 infections.


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