On Sunday, the Cambodian Ministry of Health confirmed two cases of H5N1 avian influenza, one of which resulted in the death of an 11-year-old girl.
Sylvie Briand, Director for Epidemic and Pandemic Preparedness and Prevention at the UN health agency, raised his concerns and stated, “The potential for the virus to spread to humans is a significant cause for alarm, and we are working closely with Cambodian officials to gain a better understanding of the current outbreak situation.”
In response to the recent confirmation of two virus cases, government officials are working to prevent its further spread and are conducting numerous investigations to understand how the two patients were exposed to the virus. Currently a joint effort by medical professionals and experts in animal health is taking place in Prey Veng province of Cambodia to investigate the case attempting to identify the source and mode of transmission of the disease.
WHO recently warned, “As the virus responsible for Avian Influenza (H5N1) is still present in poultry populations, further cases of human infection are likely to emerge.” According to the clinical reports, though the infection predominantly affects animals, it exhibits a 50 percent mortality rate in humans, with most cases linked to contact with infected live or dead birds or contaminated environments.
WHO’s Global Influenza Surveillance and Response System has been set up to monitor the evolution of viruses and assess the risk of potential pandemics. Health authorities are urging people to take precautions, such as avoiding contact with sick or dead birds and seeking medical attention if any symptoms of infection arise. For those who work with poultry or birds, a seasonal influenza vaccine is recommended to reduce the risk of infection. To prepare for potential pandemics, the WHO can recommend the development of new vaccine viruses as no vaccine is available to protect humans against avian influenza to date.
However, the World Health
Organization (WHO) has advised against enacting any travel or trade
restrictions in response to the current information about a new virus that has
been identified. Research thus far has indicated that the virus is not easily
transmittable from person to person, making it an unlikely source of widespread
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