Health Workers Vigilant After 8th Person Dies From Bird Flu

Ministry of Health officials said yesterday they are continuing to search for further cases of the H5N1 virus in the wake of the eighth avian influenza-related death on Saturday in Prey Veng province’s Kompong Leav district, where a 27-year-old man died.

Tes Sam Oeun, a member of the Prey Veng provincial department of health’s rapid response team, said villagers in the area of the first avian influenza death in three years have been told to minimize their travel. The deceased, In Rithy, died at Cal­mette Hospital in Phnom Penh after falling sick at his home in Prek Chrey commune.

“We are educating the people who travel between the villages to wear face masks…. If it is not necessary to go out they should stay in their village for about seven days,” Mr Sam Oeun said.

The rapid response team was scheduled to finish collecting samples from people in the commune who had touched sick or dead poultry today, Mr Sam Oeun said.

World Health Organization public health specialist Dr Nima Asgari said yesterday that samples taken from five people who had contact with Mr Rithy before he died have tested negative for bird flu by the Pasteur Institute in Phnom Penh.

Chhem Chhunly, Kompong Leav district health office chief said his team yesterday sent 30 samples of blood, feces and nasal mucus from poultry to the Pasteur Institute for testing.

“Right now we have no plan to kill poultry but if we receive the positive result we will,” Mr Chhunly said.

Dr Asgari said infected birds are often difficult to trace given the amount of mobility involved with poultry stocks.

“It is a dynamic situation given the transportation and importation of poultry,” he said.

(Additional reporting by Phorn Bopha and Alice Foster)



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