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Cambodia Battling Diseases on Two Fronts

Cambodia is facing threats from both the H1N1 virus and the avian influenza, health officials warned Monday, announcing that another man fell ill with bird flu in December.

December’s infection brings the total bird flu cases in humans to nine, with seven killed from the disease since in first appeared in 2004.

The most recent case, in Kampong Cham province, was accompanied by the deaths of 143 chickens. (Testing on two of two samples showed positive results for avian influenza.)

Meanwhile, H1N1, sometimes called swine flu, has killed six people and infected more than 500, officials said.

“We have found, every week, two, three or five new cases for H1N1,” said Ly Sovann, deputy director of the Ministry of Health’s communicable disease department. “On Dec. 16, we found a new [bird flu] case in Kampong Cham province, but he has not died.”

“Even though there are a small number of cases of human contamination, we are still worried about these diseases,” he said.

World Health Organization health specialist Nima Asgary confirmed the new case of bird flu, saying Cambodia was now facing infections of both viruses.

However, the H1N1 virus was considered less dangerous than bird flu, he said.

Ly Sovann recommended that Cambodians maintain good hygienic practices, including washing of hands and covering of mouth and nose while coughing, to prevent the spread of H1N1.

He also warned against selling or eating already-dead poultry, to prevent the spread of bird flu.