Emergencies preparedness, response

Avian influenza – situation in Cambodia - update 15

12 April 2005

The Ministry of Health in Cambodia confirmed that an 8-year-old girl from Kampot province who died on 7 April, was the country’s third case of avian influenza.

The girl became ill with a fever on the 29th March. Her condition deteriorated rapidly on 7 April, when she was taken to a district referral hospital and then transferred to Kuntha Bopha Hospital in Phnom Penh, where she died. Samples from the girl tested positive for avian influenza H5N1 virus at the Pasteur Institute, Phnom Penh.

A field investigation was conducted immediately, with team members from the Ministry of Health, Ministry of Agriculture, WHO, Pasteur Institute and FAO. Poultry deaths occurred in this village in February, but no poultry deaths occurred in the two weeks prior to the girl’s onset of symptoms. Human-to-human transmission as a source of the girl’s infection appears unlikely, as none of her known contacts were sick with similar symptoms before she became ill. Investigations as to the source of the girl’s infection are continuing.

Samples were collected from four close contacts who cared for her at the village and nine medical contacts from Kampot and Phnom Penh. All have tested negative for the H5N1 virus.

The public education campaign in Banteay Meas and neighbouring districts is continuing. The recent funding from international donors will be crucial in helping Cambodia control this disease.