So far, two bird flu deaths have been recorded this week in Cambodia. A 2-year-old girl is the second person in the country to die of bird flu this week, and the third this year, the country’s Health Ministry has announced.
Laboratory tests confirmed that the girl, who lived in the southeastern province of Prey Veng, died Monday with H5N1 avian influenza, the ministry said in a statement. Does this mean that the bird flu virus is evolving to infect humans more easily? Bill Gates and Anthony Fauci funded research that came to the conclusion that bird flu could be the next pandemic.
“Since 2003, this virus has spread in bird populations from Asia to Europe and Africa, and to the Americas in 2021, and has become endemic in poultry populations in many countries,” the World Health Organization says on its website. “Outbreaks have resulted in millions of poultry infections, several hundred human cases, and many human deaths. Human cases have been reported mostly from countries in Asia, but also from countries in Africa, the Americas and Europe.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, human infections with bird flu viruses can happen when the virus gets into a person’s eyes, nose, or mouth, or is inhaled. This can happen when the virus is in the air (in droplets or possibly dust) and a person breathes it in, or possibly when a person touches something that has the virus on it and then touches their mouth, eyes, or nose.
The spread of bird flu viruses from one infected person to a close contact is very rare, and when it has happened, it has not led to continued spread among people. Six main hemagglutinin (HA) subtypes of bird flu viruses have infected people to cause acute respiratory illness (H3, H5, H6, H7, H9, and H10 viruses). Among these, H5N1 and H7N9 viruses have caused the majority of infections in people. More information about bird flu in humans is available at Bird Flu Virus Infections in Humans. -CDC website
According to a global tally by the United Nation’s World Health Organization, from January 2003 to July 2023, there were 878 cases of human infection with H5N1 avian influenza reported from 23 countries, 458 of them fatal. Cambodia has recorded 58 cases since 2003 of humans infected with bird flu, according to a report by Yahoo News.
Chhuon Srey Mao, the 22-year-old mother of the girl who died, told The Associated Press by phone from Chhmar Lort village that her daughter fell sick on October 1 with symptoms of coughing, high temperature, and vomiting. The girl received treatment from a local physician for five days but was sent on October 5 to the capital Phnom Penh for advanced care when her condition worsened. She died at the children’s hospital.
“I have no idea why my daughter would contract bird flu because she never touched or ate the dead chickens,” Chhuon Srey Mao said, “But I presume that she may have become infected with the virus when she played in the yard, as she normally did, where the chickens had been.”