Following two human cases of H5N1 bird flu in Cambodia in January, the country has reported a third case in 2024, involving a 9-year-old boy who died from his infection, according to a Ministry of Health statement translated and published by Avian Flu Diaryan infectious disease news blog.
The boy is from the province of Kratie, in the northeast of the country. The cases announced last month occurred in two different provinces, Prey Veng and Siem Reap.
As in the other cases, investigators discovered that the poultry had died in the patient’s home. Additionally, the ministry said the birds that died were eaten.
Cambodia has reported nine cases of H5N1 since 2023, part of a resurgence that follows a decade-long lapse in cases.
It is not yet known which H5N1 clade made the boy sick, but genetic analysis of samples from recent cases found that the virus belongs to an older H5N1 clade (126.96.36.199c) that circulates in poultry in some Asian countries, not the newer. (188.8.131.52b) currently circulating in multiple regions of the world.
Yesterday the World Health Organization (WHO) updated its risk assessment on H5N1 in Cambodia, adding more details on the first two cases of the year. It said that although the risk to the general population remains low, sporadic human infections are likely to continue in rural Cambodia and other areas where the virus is still circulating among poultry.