Bird Flu Kills Girl In Cambodia

By Ek Madra
PHNOM PENH (Reuters) -- Bird flu has killed a young girl in Cambodia, the first human victim of the virus in the poor southeast Asian nation in almost a year, while China said on Friday a woman in the city of Shanghai had died from it.
Jordan became the latest Middle East country hit by an outbreak of the highly pathogenic H5N1 virus in poultry, but said no people had been infected.
Bird flu, which has spread from Asia to the Middle East, Africa and Europe, remains essentially an animal disease but can infect people who come into contact with sick poultry.
Health experts fear the virus will mutate enough to pass easily from person to person, sparking a pandemic in which millions could die.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) confirmed the cases, taking the known death toll from the virus to 105 since it re-emerged in Asia in late 2003.
Mon Puthy, aged 3, who lived in a village in Kampong Speu province about 40 miles (60 km) west of Phnom Penh in Cambodia, had been in contact with sick and dying chickens, officials said. She died on Tuesday.
Her death took Cambodia's human death toll from bird flu to five. The country's last victim was a 20-year-old woman who died in a Vietnamese hospital in April 2005.
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, local WHO spokeswoman Megge Miller said.
"It looks like another one of those isolated incidents. There aren't any alarm bells at the moment," she said.
Mon Puthy's 23-year-old mother, Choeun Sok Ny, said she still had no idea what had killed her daughter, an indication that bird flu public education campaigns in one of Asia's poorest nations still have a long way to go.
"Other children in the village played with the dead chickens more than my loved one," she told Reuters by telephone. "Why are they not sick, and why did my daughter die?"



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