Government officials were still awaiting test results Thursday night of blood samples taken from Sim Chan Bopha, who may be the fourth confirmed Cambodian avian influenza fatality. The 20-year-old Kampot province woman died in a hospital in Vietnam’s Kien Giang province on Tuesday.
On Thursday, Officials from Kien Giang met with Kampot Governor Puth Chandarith to discuss the case.
“Based on chest X-rays they told me it is an 80 percent likelihood that this was a case [of bird flu], but we do not have confirmation from the Pasteur Institute yet,” Puth Chandarith said.
The woman’s father, Leak Nov, 45, said Sim Chan Bopha was treated by the same doctor, Ou Sary, who treated Tit Sakhan, Cambodia’s first confirmed bird flu death. Both women lived within 10 km of each other in Kompong Trach district. Sim Chan Bopha lived in Bay Tea Village, Svay Tong Khang Choeung commune.
“She stayed with the doctor for three days until being transferred to Kien Giang…on the 18th. Three hours later she died,” Leak Nov said. He said no chickens have died at his house, though some of his neighbors’ birds have died.
Puth Chandarith said officials have agreed that more needs to be done to educate the people of Kampot about the dangers of bird flu and that he had “no idea” why his province has seen all three Cambodian fatalities so far.
While three Cambodians have died of the disease, Vietnam is dealing with a much larger epi-demic. Throughout the region, 220 million birds have died of the disease.
This week, Vietnam’s agriculture ministry announced that a ban on raising poultry within Ho Chi Minh City will be expanded to 15 cities and provinces. Cambodian Agriculture Ministry Secretary of State Yim Voeunthan said Cambodia is not considering any bans on the raising of poultry. “There is no ban on raising chickens in the cities because there are not as many…as in Vietnam,” he said.