PHNOM PENH: Two Cambodians have died from bird flu contracted while preparing infected chicken, the World Health Organization said Friday.
Tests on the victims, a 15-year-old girl and a 35-year-old man who died earlier this week, confirmed they had contracted the H5N1 strain of avian influenza, the WHO said in a joint statement with the Cambodian health ministry.
An eight-month-old boy admitted to hospital in Phnom Penh on January 9 was also infected with H5N1 but later recovered, the statement said.
There was evidence of infections among poultry in the villages of the two who died and the pair "prepared sick chicken for food prior to becoming sick", the statement said.
Cambodia has recorded 24 cases of H5N1 since 2003 with all but three of the victims dying.
The virus has killed 362 people worldwide since a major outbreak in 2003, according to WHO statistics.
It typically spreads from birds to humans through direct contact, but experts fear it could mutate into a form easily transmissible between humans, with the potential to trigger a pandemic. (AFP)