Phnom Penh: Kratie, a 16-year-old teenager has been confirmed to have contracted the H5N1 bird flu virus, according to a statement from the National Institute of Public Health dated February 11, 2024. The case emerged in Kapo 1 village, Or Russey commune, Kratie city, stirring concern among local health authorities.
The Ministry of Health, in a press release issued on February 12, 2024, detailed that the young individual showed no respiratory symptoms and was related to the boy who tragically succumbed to the virus on February 8, 2024.
In response to the outbreak, emergency response teams at both national and sub-national levels, along with other stakeholders, are rigorously investigating the incident. Efforts are underway to identify the source of the transmission in both animals and humans, to locate potential cases, and to prevent further spread within the community. Prophylactic medication and health education campaigns are being promptly distributed and conducted in the affected areas.
The Ministry of Health has issued a reminder to all residents to exercise caution regarding the bird flu, as the H5N1 virus continues to be a public health concern.
Residents experiencing fever, cough, runny nose, or shortness of breath, especially those with a history of contact with sick or dead poultry within 14 days before symptom onset, are advised to avoid public gatherings, refrain from traveling to crowded places, and seek immediate medical attention at the nearest health facility.
The H5N1 bird flu is predominantly a disease of birds that occasionally crosses the species barrier to infect humans, usually through close contact with infected or deceased poultry. While not commonly transmitted between humans, if the virus mutates, it has the potential to become as transmissible as seasonal influenza.
In a related but somber event, on February 9, 2024, a 9-year-old boy passed away due to the H5N1 virus, the sibling of the 16-year-old currently carrying the virus. Investigations revealed that prior to his passing, several chickens and ducks at their residence had died, which were later consumed by the family.