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Fourth Bird Flu Fatality in Kampot Cambodia

Recombinomics Commentary

April 9, 2005

>>  Cambodia has confirmed a new case of bird flu in an 8-year-old girl who died Thursday, bringing the death toll to three, Kyodo news service reported Health Minister Nuth Sokhom saying Saturday.

The minister said, according to Kyodo, that Im Sokthach died Thursday night at Kanthabopha Hospital in Phnom Penh shortly after being brought from her hometown in the southern province of Kampot.

He said test results at the Pasteur Institute in Phnom Penh confirmed Friday that the girl had been infected with the H5N1 strain of bird flu, Kyodo said, and specimens from other members of her family are being examined.

It is the country's third fatal case of bird flu in humans after a 25-year-old woman and an 18-year-old man in the same province died of the disease in January and in March this year. <<

The death of the 8 year-old girl is Cambodia's 4th bird flu death. The first two formed a familial cluster.  The index case died after collecting dead poultry in the neighborhood.  His sister then developed symptoms and went to Vietnam for treatment where she died and was confirmed to be H5N1 positive.

These two deaths were followed by two more confirmed fatalities.  All four were in Kampot adjacent to the Mekong Delta.  Thus, like the confirmed cases in southern Vietnam, all have been fatal.

There has only been one other case reported in southern Vietnam since the Tet Lunar New Year, even though there have been many new outbreaks in poultry.  The lack of human cases in the Mekong Delta is highly suspect.

Cases in the north and central highlands have been milder and there are reported discharges.  However, several large clusters have not been updated, which again is highly suspect.  Samples were sent to Hanoi for testing over 2 weeks ago from Quang Binh.  There were almost 200 villagers with flu-like symptoms and some reports have indicated that they were infected with H5N1.  Similarly the neighbors of the family of five from Haiphong were hospitalized about two weeks ago and samples were sent to Hanoi.  Those results were also not reported.  In addition, the 34 year-old physician at Vietnam Sweden hospital in Quang Ninh was admitted over a week ago and samples were sent to Hanoi. Although results were supposed to have been announced by the end of the week, they also were not reported.  However, there was a report of an unnamed patient testing positive in Hanoi in the past week.

The silence of test results in Vietnam is deafening.

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