H5N1: In a rare case of bird flu, a Cambodian girl dies

On February 8, 2023, Casim Abbas, a professor of mathematics at Michigan State University, feeds chickens at his s...

Health officials in Cambodia have confirmed the death of an 11-year-old girl from the nation's first known human case of bird flu in nine years.

On Wednesday, the girl from the outlying Prey Veng province was identified as having the H5N1 virus.

A week prior, she had become ill with a high fever, cough, and sore throat.

Her father also tested positive, according to the health ministry of Cambodia, and 11 other people.

It was the first known human infection of the H5N1 strain in Cambodia since 2014, according to Health Minister Mam Bunheng on Thursday.

The girl was brought from her village to the children's hospital in Phnom Penh, the country's capital, but she passed away soon after receiving her diagnosis.

Officials have taken samples from a number of dead birds that were found close to the girl's village. Residents have also been cautioned by health officials not to handle sick or dead birds.

The last bird flu case in Cambodia was reported in 2014. It documented 56 human cases of H5N1 infection in the ten years prior, 37 of which were fatal.

Because humans lack the receptors for the current virus strain in their throats, noses, and upper respiratory tracts, human cases of bird flu are uncommon. A higher risk of infection exists for those who handle infected poultry. .

Since 2021, the WHO has documented eight cases of human H5N1 infections, including those in China, India, Spain, the UK, and the US.

Birds worldwide are catching the virus in a new, highly contagious strain.

Since October 2021, there has been a recent global bird flu outbreak.

The BBC was informed by the World Organization for Animal Health earlier this month that it had identified nearly 42 million distinct cases in domestic and wild birds.

Nearly 15 million domestic birds, including poultry, have perished as a result of the illness, and an additional 193 million have been destroyed.

Additionally to humans, the strain had infected mammals like minks and otters. The virus will "need to be monitored closely" to see if it is evolving into a form that can spread among humans, the World Health Organization stated earlier this month.

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