How a 21-year-old Cambodian became the world’s latest bird flu victim

Woman dies within a week of falling sick, as Cambodia faces a spike in avian influenza in humans after an eight year hiatus.

Chem Seavmey’s family are still in shock. One Sunday morning, the 21-year-old woke up slightly breathless, struggling with a fever and cough. A week later, she was dead.

“I did not expect this, it was so quick,” Chem’s brother-in-law, Sok Reth, told the Telegraph. “She just got worse and worse … Although the doctors tried to help, she still passed away. I am very, very regretful and sad … it was too quick for us.”

On November 26, at a hospital in the capital city three hours from home, Chem became the third person to die from bird flu in Cambodia this year. The country has seen a spike of infections after an eight year hiatus, with six of the 12 human H5N1 cases detected in 2023 reported here, according to the World Health Organization.

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