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Bird flu outbreak fears cool as residents test negative

Written By vibykhmer on Friday, January 23, 2009 | 1:19 AM

Written by Cheang Sokha
Friday, 23 January 2009

But health officials remain on alert for a possible outbreak of H5N1 virus following a series of scares in Kandal province.
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Photo by: Heng Chivoan
Men unload chickens in Phnom Penh. Fears of a bird flu outbreak have calmed:

NEARLY 100 Kandal residents tested for the H5N1 avian influenza following outbreak fears last month have been declared free of the disease, according to officials at the Ministry of Health.

Sok Touch, director of the Communicable Disease Control Department at the ministry, said that roughly 95 suspected cases of avian influenza
had been investigated throughout the province, but none confirmed the local presence of the virus.

"We are continuing our examinations of the virus across the country," Sok Touch told the Post Thursday.

"In the cool season, outbreaks can occur more easily, so we are on alert to follow up any leads."

In November last year, 19-year-old Teng Sopheak from Kandal province's Kandal Stung district was hospitalised after consuming a chicken - a case officials later confirmed as avian influenza, also known as H5N1.

Leng Khan, director of the Deum Reus Health Centre in Kandal Stung's Cheung Koeub commune, said that soon after officials confirmed the presence of H5N1, about 18 people in the community were immediately called in for blood tests, all returning negative results.

Leng Khan said that residents in neighbouring villages were also tested by health officials with support from the Pasteur Institute in Phnom Penh.

"They are doing fine here right now," Leng Khan said. "Even Teng Sopheak is fine and is now harvesting his crops in Kampong Speu province."
Teng Sopheak was the eighth person confirmed to have contracted avian influenza in Cambodia, and was the only case recorded in the Kingdom in 2008. None of the seven previous cases survived.

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