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Fear Grows Surrounding Cambodia’s Eighth Bird Flu Death

Update Date: Feb 26, 2013 11:20 AM EST
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Cambodia reported its eighth fatality after a 35 year-old man residing in the northeastern province of Kampong Cham succumbed to the bird flu. According to the deputy head of the health ministry's disease surveillance bureau, Ly Sovann, the Phnom Penh hospital confirmed that the man was indeed inflicted with the H5N1 virus. The increasing number of deaths from the bird flu within a short period of time is raising fear for both the nation and the world. 

"We are really worried about the situation because in just two months we have nine cases of the bird flu," the deputy expressed.

The latest victim apparently had eaten two dead ducks before he had fallen ill to the virus. The ducks were among the many birds that had died earlier in the month. The villagers did not take into the account that the dead birds could have died from the virus. The correlation between the eight victims' villages and the amount of dead birds is alarming as investigators found thousands of dead birds in every victim's village. The health ministry stated that the villages did not report the large cases of dead birds, which hindered any chances of early prevention for the victims. The ministry will increase surveillance for all villages in order to catch and treat the bird flu early. All villages are now required to report dead poultry immediately and are told to not consume any of the dead animals until further notice.

Communications officer with the World Health Organization (WHO), Sonny Krishnan also reassured people that the organization will keep a close tab on the disease, which has not spread from human to human. The limited mobility of the disease, which is only transferable from animal to human is a good sign in preventing mass cases. However, some experts fear that the virus will mutate and spread from human to human. Cambodia has a history with the avian influenza but has never recorded so many deaths within the short time span of a couple of months. Since 2003, the country has recorded 30 human cases of the virus and a total of three fatalities from these cases.  

WHO stated that the virus has killed over 364 people throughout the world since 2003. 

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