PHNOM PENH - Prime Minister Hun Sen has ordered police, health and agriculture officials to work harder to curb ongoing bird flu deaths, following the eighth fatality from the disease this year.
Avian influenza has killed 27 people in 30 Cambodian cases of the disease since a worldwide outbreak in 2003. Health officials say the apparent increase in frequency since the beginning of the year is cause for concern.
Hun Sen’s directive was issued last week, and it orders relevant authorities to work together to decrease the “worrying” rate of fatalities.
In the latest case, a 35-year-old man died from the disease on Monday, reportedly after eating infected duck.
Ly Sovan, deputy director of the Ministry of Health’s communicable disease department, told VOA Khmer the ministry cannot handle the threat by itself and needs the help of other authorities and of Cambodians at large—by avoiding already dead fowl and increasing hygiene and sanitation practices.
Right now, bird flu cannot be passed from human to human, but global health officials worry that the H5N1 virus could eventually mutate, triggering a pandemic.