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H5N1 Bird Flu, Claims a Young Victim

Phnom Penh: According to confirmed reports from government health officials and the World Health Organization, a 3-year-old Cambodian girl has died// of H5N1 bird flu. She is the virus’ first human victim, in a year from the South-East Asian Nation.

The girl, Mon Puthy, had been in close proximity with sick and dying chickens in a village in Kampong Speu province about 40 miles west of Phnom Penh. According to WHO spokeswoman Megge Miller, the girl is a confirmed positive case of H5N1. She said, "She has been confirmed positive with H5N1. Tests had been carried out at the Pasteur Institute in Phnom Penh and there was no reason to doubt their accuracy”

Mon Puthy's 23-year-old mother, Choeun Sok Ny, has no clue about the reason for her daughter’s death. This is certainly a pointer that bird flu public education campaigns need more thrust, especially in the poor nations.

According to Miller, seven other people in the village are portraying symptoms of fever, but this is no cause for alarm. "They have a fever but no cough," Miller said. "We are keeping an eye on them. None requires hospitalization at the moment. It looks like another one of those isolated incidents. There aren't any alarm bells at the moment.”

With the young girl’s death, Cambodia's human death toll due to bird flu has risen to five ever since the virus first set foot, in this area, in late 2003. Cambodia still remains as the worst hit country with a high record of human deaths.

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