PHNOM PENH, Cambodia — The brother of a boy who died last week from bird flu has tested positive for the virus, Cambodia’s Health Ministry said Monday.
The death of the 9-year-old boy in the northeastern province of Kratie was the first from bird flu in Cambodia this year, after the World Health Organization reported four last year.
Bird flu, also known as avian influenza, normally spreads among poultry and was not considered a threat to people until an outbreak in 1997 among visitors to Hong Kong poultry markets. Most human cases have involved direct contact with infected poultry, but there has been concern that the virus could evolve to spread more easily between people.
The WHO and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations warned this month that Lunar New Year festivities celebrated in much of Asia posed an increased risk of spreading the virus.
In a statement, Cambodia’s Health Ministry said the 16-year-old brother tested positive for the virus on Sunday but had no symptoms. The boy was receiving medical treatment and authorities are investigating who had contact with the brothers and how and where they contracted the virus.
The Health Ministry said the boy who died last week fell ill with fever, difficulty breathing, cough and fainting after eating a meal his parents had cooked from chicken and ducks they raised.