2 dead from bird flu in Vietnam and Cambodia

Vietnam on Thursday reported its first human death from bird flu in nearly two years, as the virus also claimed the life of a toddler in Cambodia.

Concerns about avian influenza have risen in the region after China in late December reported its first fatality from the H5N1 virus in 18 months, but Vietnamese authorities cautioned against alarm, saying, "The bird flu situation is still within our control."

The Vietnamese victim, who died on January 11, was a duck farmer from the southern Mekong delta province of Hau Giang, and experts were investigating whether the infection came from his flock.

In neighboring Cambodia, a two-year-old boy from northwestern Banteay Meanchey province, who is thought to have been exposed to sick poultry, died on January 18 from the virus, the World Health Organization (WHO) said.

The H5N1 strain of avian influenza has killed more than 340 people worldwide since 2003, according to WHO statistics.