A 3-year-old boy in suburban Phnom Penh died of H5N1 avian influenza earlier this month, raising Cambodia ’s H5N1 death toll this year to two, the country’s Health Ministry said on March 7.

According to a joint statement by the ministry and the World Health Organisation (WHO), the boy died on March 2 after being admitted to hospital for three days.

He had onset symptoms of fever, cough, running nose and vomiting on Feb. 22 and his parents sent him to the National Pediatric Hospital a week later after his condition worsened. He became the sixth person infected with the virus in 2014.

The statement said in mid-February, over 90 percent of the chickens and small number of ducks suddenly died in the boy's village, and he often went to the house of a neighbour whose poultry died.

Also in the month, an 8-year-old boy in Cambodian died of A/H5N1 influenza.

Bird flu remains a serious threat to the health of all Cambodians and children seem to be the most vulnerable, said Health Minister Mam Bunheng.

Parents should keep their children away from sick or dead poultry and make sure children wash their hands with soap and water after any contact with poultry, he said.

H5N1 influenza normally spreads between sick poultry, but it can sometimes spread from poultry to human beings, according to WHO.

The virus was first identified in Cambodia 10 years ago. To date, the country has reported 53 human cases of the virus, killing 35 people, the statement said.-VNA