Friday, February 24, 2023 – H5N1 bird flu has killed an 11-year-old girl in Cambodia with twelve more children suspected of having been infected with the virus.
The 12 suspected cases are located in the same province as an 11-year-old girl who died from the infection Wednesday, raising fears the virus may be spreading from human to human for the first time in decades.
The Khmer Times , a local newspaper reported that the suspected patients have all been tested for the virus and are waiting on lab confirmation, four of whom are symptomatic.
Several experts in America fear the close proximity of the cases may be a sign of human transmission after causing an unprecedented number of cases among the world’s bird population over the past year.
The virus has only ever been detected in around 870 cases, but around half resulted in death.
Dr. Arturo Casadevall, an immunologist at Johns Hopkins, reacted to the suspected outbreak in Cambodia. He wrote on Twitter: ‘Key information is whether the 12 infected people obtained it from a bird source or from human-to-human transmission, which would be very worrisome.’
Dr. Eric Feigl-Ding, an epidemiologist and Chief of COVID Task Force at the New England Complex Systems Institute, tweeted: ‘Hope this wasn’t human to human, but I’m now getting to be worried,’
H5N1 was first detected in chickens in Scotland in 1959, and again in China and Hong Kong in 1996. It first was detected in humans in 1997.