A seven-year-old boy and his three-year-old sister from the north-eastern Cambodian province of Kratie died on February 7 after contracting the H5N1 strand of avian influenza, a health official confirmed on February 12.

Their deaths bring the total number of bird flu fatalities in the country to three so far this year.

Director of the Ministry of Health’s Communicable Disease Control Department said the children had found dead chickens in their village, which they had touched and eaten before falling sick.

H5N1 influenza is a flu that normally spreads between sick poultry, but it can sometimes spread from poultry to humans, according to the World Health Organisation.

Bird flu was first identified in Cambodia ten years ago. To date, the country has reported 50 human cases of the virus, of whom 35 had died.-VNA