New bird flu cases in Cambodia: brother of boy who died from virus

The brother of a boy who died from bird flu in Cambodia last week has tested positive for the virus, the health ministry said on Monday.

The death of a 9-year-old boy in the northeastern province of Kratie is Cambodia’s first death from bird flu this year, after the World Health Organization reported four deaths last year.

Avian influenza, which is typically spread among birds, was not considered a threat to humans until an outbreak in a Hong Kong chicken market in 1997. Most human cases are due to direct contact with infected birds, but there are concerns the virus may be spread more directly between humans.

The World Health Organization and the World Food Program warned this month that Lunar New Year celebrations in many Asian countries could lead to infections.

The Cambodian Ministry of Health said in a statement that the 16-year-old boy tested positive for the virus but had no symptoms. The young man is receiving treatment and authorities are working to determine who he came into contact with and how and where the children contracted the virus.

The ministry added that the boy who died last week developed fever, difficulty breathing, coughing and fainting after eating food cooked by his parents from chickens and ducks they raised.

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