A senior Ministry of Health official confirmed on February 27 that the H5N1 bird flu in Prey Veng province remains under control, with only two positive cases detected to date.

“Only two cases were confirmed by the lab. Tragically, one of the cases, an 11-year-old girl, passed away. Her father also tested positive for the virus, but he has responded well to medical treatment and will recover,” said ministry sercretary of state and spokeswoman Or Vandine.

“We are not seeing any signs of an outbreak, although we are monitoring the situation very clearly. We have carried out extensive testing and found no other cases of infection, which is an excellent sign,” she added.

She said the father had tested negative for the virus, but would remain in hospital to complete his course of medication.

“Doctors have not released him, and we are being cautious. They will continue to treat him, according to the protocol laid out by the manufacturers of his medication, and are examining him regularly,” she added.

Vandine said that 29 samples had been taken by the ministry’s research team – 16 from people who had direct contact with the two confirmed infections, and 13 people from the area who displayed flu-like symptoms. All of the samples returned negative results.

She called on the public to remain vigilant and reminded them to exercise caution around live poultry. They should wash their hands regularly, stay away from ill birds, and make certain that chicken and eggs are cooked thoroughly before they are consumed.

“Health officials have asked the people in the area to observe precautionary measures and have asked them to report any suspected cases to authorities as soon as possible,” she continued.

The ministry said the two cases – the 57th and 58th recorded in the Kingdom – were the first to appear in the past nine years.

Of the 58 cases, 45 were found in children under the age of 14, and 31 of the patients were female. Only 19 of the 58 survived the virus.