2 human bird flu cases confirmed in Asia: WHO

Health officials have identified two human avian flu infections among a family in Cambodia, the World Health Organization confirmed Feb. 24.

An 11-year-old girl tested positive for H5N1 on Feb. 22 and died while receiving treatment in a local children's hospital, according to BBC News. The girl's father has since tested positive for a strain endemic to Cambodia and unrelated to the outbreaks among birds in the U.S. and Europe, according to The New York Times. Eleven other family members have also tested negative, including four with flu-like symptoms. 

Cambodian health officials have determined that the girl and her father both contracted the virus from direct contact with birds, rather than via human transmission, according to the Bangkok Post.

The H5N1 cases represent the country's first since 2014 and come amid heightened concern about bird flu's risk to humans increasing. 

"The global H5N1 situation is worrying given the wide spread of the virus in birds around the world and the increasing reports of cases in mammals, including humans," Sylvie Briand, MD, PhD, director of epidemic and pandemic preparedness and prevention at the WHO, said during a Feb. 24 media briefing. "WHO takes the risk from this virus seriously and urges heightened vigilance from all countries."

In early February, the WHO assessed bird flu risk to humans as low. Dr. Briand said the organization is reviewing their global risk assessment in light of the new cases. 

Six more notes on human H5N1 cases:

1. The current strain, H5N1, first emerged in 1996 and has transmitted to and between humans on rare occasions.

2. Since 2003, 880 humans worldwide have been infected with H5N1. 

3. In 2011, one asymptomatic case was reported in Vietnam, while a second was reported in the U.K. in 2021. 

4. A person in Colorado tested positive for H5N1 in April 2022, and was the first person in the U.S. to be infected with the strain.

5. Excluding the latest cases in Cambodia, five other human cases have been identified globally since October 2021. 

6. There are no current cases of human-to-human transmission. Overall risk to the public remains low, according to the CDC.

Copyright © 2024 Becker's Healthcare. All Rights Reserved. Privacy Policy. Cookie Policy. Linking and Reprinting Policy.


Featured Whitepapers

Featured Webinars