PHNOM PENH —
Health officials in Cambodia have urged calm after an outbreak of avian influenza, or bird flu, in poultry in Phnom Penh last week.
Hundreds of birds were taken in for testing by health officers in the capital’s Sen Sok district.
Officials were quick to clarify that no humans had been found to have been infected by the H5N1 virus.
Ly Sovann, a health ministry spokesman, said an outbreak was also discovered late last year in Kampong Thom province.
“Until now, we have not found any human who was infected. Out of 14 people who were tested, the results were all negative.”
He added that outbreaks such as this one were an annual occurrence.
“Buyers who buy poultry from farms, please don’t resell the sick ones because it is transferring the disease to many more places. Secondly, [the seller] himself can be infected with the virus and could die.”
H5N1 is a type of influenza virus that causes a highly infectious, severe respiratory disease in birds called avian influenza (or "bird flu"). When people become infected, the mortality rate is about 60 percent. H5N1 has killed 454 people globally since 2003, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).
According to WHO reports, from 2003 until 2014 there were 56 cases of infected humans and 37 people have died. However, between 2015 and 2018, no humans were infected by the H5N1 virus.