PHNOM PENH, Cambodia (AP) — A 10-year-old Cambodian boy died Saturday, becoming the country's 13th person to die of bird flu this year, officials said.
Cambodia's Health Ministry and the World Health Organization said in a joint statement that the boy died from the H5N1 bird flu virus after suffering from fever, cough, a sore throat and breathing difficulty.
Cambodia's 13 bird flu fatalities and 24 confirmed cases are the country's highest annual total since the virus surfaced in 2003, and also the highest for any country this year for the H5N1 variant.
The H5N1 virus normally spreads between poultry, but can sometimes spread from poultry to humans.
The statement said that about a month before the boy became sick, about 30 chickens died suddenly in his village in the southern province of Kampot, and that he had carried dead poultry for his brother, who was preparing them for a meal.
There have been more than 640 confirmed H5N1 cases worldwide since 2003, about 60 percent of them fatal. Additionally, China has seen more than 100 confirmed cases of the H7N9 bird flu strain since it emerged in March this year.