Cambodian girl dies from bird flu
Cambodia's health ministry reports the country's first fatality from bird flu in years.
An eleven-year-old girl in Cambodia died from bird flu, according to health officials, the country's first fatality from the virus in years.
The World Health Organization has urged caution following the recent discovery of bird flu in mammals but has emphasized that the risk to humans is low.
The girl became ill on February 16 with a fever, cough, and sore throat and died in the hospital, according to Cambodia's Communicable Disease Control Department. They didn't specify when the girl died but said test results delivered on Wednesday confirmed she was "positive for H5N1," referring to the bird flu virus.
Direct contact between birds and humans is usually how the disease spreads.
Cambodia's health ministry said officials were awaiting test results from several dead birds discovered near the girl's village.
Cambodian Health Minister Mam Bunheng issued a statement urging parents to keep their children away from poultry, as well as sick or dead birds.
The case is the 57th recorded instance of bird flu since the virus hit Cambodia two decades ago.
Since late 2021, Japan has been gripped by its worst-ever outbreak of bird flu, with severe outbreaks also occurring in Europe, and North and South America. This has led to the culling of tens of millions of domestic poultry worldwide, many with the H5N1 strain.
Tens of thousands of wild birds have died as a result of the global outbreak.
The recent discovery of the disease in a variety of mammals, including foxes, otters, minks, sea lions, and even grizzly bears, has raised fears that humans may be more vulnerable.
"The recent spillover to mammals needs to be monitored closely," WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said this month, stressing that "for the moment, WHO assesses the risk to humans as low".
According to the WHO, there have been over 450 fatal bird flu cases worldwide since 2003.