Ministry of Health spokeswoman Or Vandine called on the public to be extra vigilant about H5N1 bird flu. The poultry transmitted disease has a higher mortality rate than Covid-19.

Vandine told reporters on February 27 that the health ministry had issued several reminders, including ahead of Chinese New Year, for the public to be careful, with Minister of Health Mam Bun Heng urged caution.

“I would like to once again remind the public to be very careful, because bird flu is even deadlier than Covid-19,” said Vandine.

“The mortality rate of those who contract H5N1 is as high as 50 or 60 per cent, globally. I urge people to avoid contact with sick poultry,” she added.

She also warned people that birds that became ill and died should not be consumed. They should be burnt, so the disease cannot spread.

“Washing your hands with clean water and soap is very important. After eating, using the bathroom or handling poultry, please wash your hands immediately. If we all do this, we will minimize the risk of transmission,” she said.

The health ministry announced two cases in Prey Veng province last week. Tragically, one of the two victims, an 11 year-old girl, passed away. Her father was also infected, but displayed asymptomatic symptoms. He was released from hospital on February 28, after testing negative one day prior.

The ministry’s Communicable Disease Control (CDC) Department said on February 28 that investigations had determined that both patients contracted the disease from birds in the village, and it was not a case of human-to-human transmission.

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.

Vandine said that with only the two cases reported, infections appeared to be under control.

“We are not seeing any signs of a wider 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.