Cambodian leader tells TV, radio to broadcast bird flu awareness spots

Cambodia's prime minister told TV and radio stations Tuesday to broadcast information about bird flu during prime-time kickboxing matches and pop concerts, warning it would be difficult to control the virus if it spreads rapidly. A 3-year-old girl died last week of the deadly H5N1 strain of bird flu in southern Cambodia , becoming the Southeast Asian nation's fifth confirmed victim.

Prime Minister Hun Sen said the danger of the virus "must not be underestimated." "This is our big concern," he said during a ceremony at a medical school. "If the disease breaks out in a large scale at many places at a single time, how will we manage the situation?"

He said all television and radio stations should broadcast daily educational spots about bird flu to raise awareness of how to avoid catching the disease. The stations should insert the spots in commercial breaks during kickboxing matches, pop concerts and other prime-time shows, Hun Sen said.

Last week, a 3-year-old girl in Tuol Prik village of Kampong Speu province, 45 kilometers (25 miles) west of Phnom Penh, became Cambodia's first bird flu mortality this year and fifth since 2005. She died from the virulent H5N1 virus after handling sick fowl, according to the government and World Health Organization. Worldwide, the virus has killed 105 people in eight countries, mostly in Asia , according to WHO, and has killed or prompted authorities to destroy 200 million birds, reports the AP.


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