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Report: 2-year-old becomes Cambodia's 11th bird flu death this year

The H5N1 virus typically spreads between poultry to poultry but has already sickened 41 people in Cambodia, mainly children.

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As China scrambles to contain a deadly new type of bird flu, Cambodia is battling a spike in the better known H5N1 strain that has baffled experts a decade after a major outbreak began in Asia. A 2-year-old girl became the 11th person to die from bird flu in Cambodia this year. (TANG CHHIN SOTHY/AFP/Getty Images)

A two-year-old girl became the 11th victim of an outbreak of bird flu virus in Cambodia this year, the country's health ministry said Friday.

The Associated Press reports that the little girl from the southern province of Kampot died from the H5N1 virus on Tuesday after having shared in a meal of chickens that had died.

"The 2-year-old from Kampot was in very serious condition when she arrived and died yesterday after only two days in hospital," Dr Denis Laurent, a spokesman for Kantha Bopha Hospital in Phnom Penh, told the Phnom Penh Post.

"We’re worried that many cases seem to be originating in Kampot," Dr Laurent added.

A 5-year-old girl from Takeo province also contracted the H5N1 virus but is recovering.

Cases of the H5N1 strain of bird flu have been cropping up for more than a decade but 2013 is on track to be the deadliest year in Cambodia since the disease surfaced.

This year alone there have been 41 confirmed cases in Cambodia, the majority of them are in children under 14.

The virus is spread between poultry to poultry but can infect humans who come into close contact with poultry, according to the World Health Organization.

It is extremely difficult to transmit between humans.

A new strain of the virus, H7N9, that has surfaced this past year in China has proved to be more deadly and has significant pandemic potential.

Dutch researchers published research in the upcoming issue of the American Journal of Pathology showing that the H7N9 virus is easier to transmit in humans and pigs.

Minister of Health Mam Bunheng told the Associated Press that the spread of bird flu during the Cambodian festival of Pchum Ben in early October, when families prepare chickens and ducks for meals and offerings, will be of particular concern.

More from GlobalPost: How scared should we be of H7N9?

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/asia-pacific/cambodia/130920/report-2-year-old-becomes-cambodias-11th-bird-flu