Cambodian 3-year-old dies of H5N1 bird flu

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PHNOM PENH, Mar 24 (Reuters) A 3-year-old Cambodian girl has died of H5N1 bird flu, government health officials and the World Health Organisation said today.

The girl, who lived in a village in Kampong Speu province about 40 miles (60 km) west of Phnom Penh, had been in contact with sick and dying chickens, officials said.

''She has been confirmed positive with H5N1,'' WHO spokeswoman Megge Miller said. Tests had been carried out at the Pasteur Institute in Phnom Penh and there was no reason to doubt their accuracy, she added.

The death of the girl, whose identity was not being released for family reasons, took the human death toll from bird flu in the impoverished southeast Asian nation to five since the virus first landed in the region in late 2003.

Miller said seven other people in the village who had either been in contact with the girl or sick poultry were showing some signs of fever, although there was no cause for panic.

''They have a fever but no cough,'' Miller said. ''We are keeping an eye on them. None requires hospitalisation at the moment.'' ''It looks like another one of those isolated incidents.

There aren't any alarm bells at the moment,'' she said.

Before the latest incident, 184 people are known to have been infected with H5N1 since 2003, of whom 103 have died, the WHO has said.


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