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Three sick Cambodians tested for bird flu

Written by: Staff
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PHNOM PENH, Mar 27 (Reuters) Three Cambodians suffering from fever and coughs are being tested for bird flu after a 3-year-old girl died of the virus last week, government officials and the World Health Organisation (WHO) said today.

The three -- two children and an adult from the same province west of the capital where the girl died -- were admitted to a Phnom Penh hospital on Saturday, said Ly Sovann, Cambodia's main bird flu surveillance expert.

A joint Cambodian-WHO statement said they had come into contact with poultry that died around their village in Kampong Speu province, around 40 miles (60 km) from Phnom Penh.

''The two children played with the dead poultry and the adult took the dead chickens to cook,'' said Ly Sovann.

The test results are expected later today or early tomorrow However, seven other Cambodians who had fallen sick last week in the same Kampong Speu village where the girl died had all tested negative for the H5N1 virus, he added.

The girl's death took the impoverished Southeast Asian nation's human toll to five since the virus first appeared in the region in late 2003.

According to WHO figures, 186 people worldwide are known to have been infected with H5N1 since 2003. Of those, 105 have died, including the Cambodian girl.

REUTERS SHB RK1022

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