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Last Updated: Thursday, 24 March, 2005, 13:55 GMT
Second bird flu case in Cambodia
A second Cambodian person has died of bird flu since the current outbreak began, health officials have announced.

The 28-year-old man came from Tram Sasor in Kampot province, close to the Vietnamese border.

Health Minister Nuth Sokhom said more than 400 chickens and ducks had died in the area, but it was not known if the victim had been in contact with them.

The man is the 47th human victim of the disease since its resurgence in South East Asia in December 2003.

Principally an avian disease, first seen in humans in Hong Kong, 1997
Almost all human cases thought to be contracted from birds
Isolated cases of human-to-human transmission in Hong Kong and Vietnam

Experts are worried the virus could eventually combine with human flu and risk a deadly pandemic.

The latest victim appears to have been infected after eating dead chickens.

Cambodian Deputy Agriculture Minister Yim Voeun Tharn told the Associated Press that chickens and ducks had been dying in the province for some time, but that villagers did not immediately tell the authorities because they did not want their remaining stocks to be culled.

Health Minister Nuth Sokhom said he would travel to Kampot to try to educate people about the virus.

The other Cambodian who died of bird flu, last month, also came from Kampot. The woman died in a hospital across the border in Vietnam.

So far, Vietnam has been hardest hit by this outbreak of bird flu. Health officials there were alarmed by reports this week of scores of people with flu-like symptoms in Quang Binh province, where a five-year-old boy was infected with the virus two weeks ago.

A team of experts has gone to the area to investigate.

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