Phnom Penh -

Two children have died of bird flu in Cambodia, bringing the number of cases recorded in January to five, officials said on Tuesday.

A 17-month-old girl and a nine-year-old girl died on Monday after contracting H5N1 influenza, a joint statement from the World Health Organisation and Cambodia's Ministry of Health said.

The children were from villages in the southern provinces of Kampong Speu and Kampot, where recent poultry deaths had been reported, they said.

“I urge parents and guardians to keep children away from sick or dead poultry, discourage them playing in areas where poultry stay and wash their hands often,” Cambodian Health Minister Mam Bunheng said.

The Ministry of Health last week confirmed three additional human infections, two of which resulted in death.

A 15-year-old girl and a 35-year-old man both died after contracting avian flu, but an 8-month-old boy survived after falling ill in Phnom Penh.

A total of 26 H5N1 infections have been recorded in Cambodia, 17 of which were in children under 14. A total of 23 people have died from complications of the virus. - Sapa-dpa