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Cambodia reports new human case of H5N1 bird flu

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Micrograph of avian influenza, also known as bird flu (Credit: CDC/F.A. Murphy)

A toddler in Cambodia is seriously ill after testing positive for H5N1 bird flu, the health ministry confirmed on Saturday, making it the country’s sixth human case so far this year.

The 3-year-old boy, from a village in Kiri Vong District in Takeo province, was hospitalized on Friday after falling ill with a fever, cough, tiredness and difficulty breathing.

The health ministry said the boy remained in the intensive care unit on Saturday but his symptoms were reportedly improving.

“According to the investigation, about 10 days ago, there was a dead chicken in the village and it was taken home to eat, where the boy touched and held the dead chicken,” the health ministry said in a statement.

LINK: A list of all human cases of H5N1 bird flu since 2021

It was not immediately known which strain was involved but it’s likely clade, an older variant which is endemic in the Asian country, though no human cases were reported between 2014 and 2023. Since then, 12 cases have been found, including six this year.

A newer strain of H5N1, clade, has raised concern due to its global spread and the growing number of cases in mammals, including an outbreak among dairy cows in the U.S. Only a limited number of human cases have been reported so far after contact with infected birds or cows.

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