A 9-year-old boy has died after being infected with H5N1 bird flu in Cambodia, the health ministry reported on Friday, making it the third case in the country in just two weeks.
The young boy, from a village near Kratié in eastern Cambodia, developed symptoms after 5 chickens and 3 ducks at his home died. The ducks were also cooked and consumed by the family.
The child tested positive for H5N1 bird flu on Thursday, the same day he died. The Ministry of Health announced the case on Friday, the third in just two weeks.
The first two cases – a 3-year-old from Prey Veng and a 69-year-old from Siem Reap – have already recovered. Both had contact with poultry and were infected with an older strain of H5N1, called 188.8.131.52c.
A newer strain of H5N1, 184.108.40.206b, has raised concern due to its global spread and cases in a growing number of mammals. So far, only a limited number of human cases have been reported after contact with infected birds.
“These animal influenza viruses do not easily infect humans, and human-to-human transmission appears to be unusual,” WHO said in a risk assessment. “However, severe disease with high mortality rates can occur as a result of human infection.”
Thirteen human cases of H5N1 were reported worldwide last year, including six cases in Cambodia, where four people died. All cases in Cambodia involved the older variant.