Bird flu claims more victims

An eight-year-old Cambodian girl has died of bird flu, the 51st known victim of the deadly virus since it swept across Asia at the end of 2003.

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By  Stuart Qualtrough Published  April 18, 2005

An eight-year-old Cambodian girl has died of bird flu, the 51st known victim of the deadly virus since it swept across Asia at the end of 2003. Health officials said the girl was from Kampot, the same province as two other Cambodian victims on the border with Vietnam, which has been hit worst by the H5N1 virus with 36 victims. Twelve Thais have also died of the virus, which the World Health Organisation says has the potential to mutate into a form that could pass easily between humans and cause a pandemic in which millions of people could die. The girl died in a Phnom Penh hospital last week and laboratory tests confirmed she had bird flu the following day. It is believed she caught the disease directly from infected poultry, like most of the other victims. Tens of millions of fowl have died of bird flu or been slaughtered in a so far vain attempt to kill off the virus, which the WHO says is now endemic in parts of southeast Asia.

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