January 8: An 8-month-old boy shows the first symptoms of H5N1 in Chrey Korng village, Phnom Penh. This is part of the metropolitan region, with several good hotels.
January 9: The boy goes to the National Pediatric Hospital. He's tested and confirmed as H5N1 on January 22 (2nd case). He is reported recovered in the January 25 news reports that break the story.
January 11: A 15-year-old girl in Snao village, Takeo province, falls ill. This province is south of Phnom Penh and on the border with Vietnam. I can't find the precise location of the village.
January 13: A 35-year-old man falls ill in Trapeang Sla, Kampong Speu province, west of Phnom Penh. A 17-month-old girl (4th case), also in Kampong Speu, shows symptoms.
January 17: The 15-year-old girl enters Kantha Bopha Hospital. So does the 17-month-old.
January 19: A 9-year-old girl in Thmei commune, Kampot province, shows symptoms.
January 21: The 35-year-old man admitted to Khmer-Soviet Friendship Hospital in Phnom Penh. Samples are taken; he dies soon after. The 15-year-old girl also dies on this day.
January 25: A 5-year-old girl from Prey Kabass commune, Takeo province, falls ill.
January 26: 17-month-old girl in Kampong Speu province diagnosed with H5N1.
January 27: The 9-year-old from Kampot is admitted to Kantha Bopha.
January 28: The 17-month-old girl dies in Kantha Bopha. So does the 9-year-old girl from Kampot.
January 31: The 5-year-old girl from Prey Kabass is admitted to Kantha Bopha after several days of private treatment.
February 3: A 3-year-old girl from Ang Phnom Toch commune, Kampot province, develops a red rash.
February 6: The 3-year-old girl is admitted to Kantha Bopha with fever, abdominal pain, and somnolence. She is the 7th case this year. The 8th case, a 20-month-old boy from Ang Romduol village, Kampot province, develops fever and runny nose.
February 7: The 5-year-old girl from Prey Kabass dies in Kantha Bopha.
February 8: Thoeun Doeun, a 35-year-old man in Kbal Ou village, Kompong Cham province, develops a fever. He is the 9th H5N1 case.
February 10: Thoeun Doeun develops frequent cough and dyspnea. He is treated by local private practitioners.
February 13: The 3-year-old dies in Kantha Bopha. Thoeun Doeun is admitted to Kompong Cham hospital and immediately treated with Tamiflu.
February 18: The 20-month-old boy, after private treatment, is admitted to Kantha Bopha Hospital with fever, cough, and dyspnea.
February 19: The 20-month-old boy dies in Kantha Bopha. He is the 8th case and 7th fatality in Cambodia in the six weeks between January 8 and February 19th.
February 21: Thoeun Doeun develops pneumonia; he is transferred to Calmette Hospital in Phnom Penh.
February 25: Thoeun Doeun, Cambodia's 9th H5N1 case, become its 8th fatality. He is the country's 30th case and 27th death, bringing the country's case fatality rate to 90 percent.A couple of points: Over a week before his transfer to Phnom Penh, Thoeun Doun was being treated with Tamiflu, so the authorities must have a strong suspicion he had H5N1. Yet they did not move him until he developed pneumonia.
Secondly, by the 21st it must have been clear that he was gravely ill with H5N1. but as with all the other cases, the authorities said nothing until he died. (The first case, of the baby boy who survived, was unknown until his recovery was announced on January 25.)
As a crisis-communication issue, this turns each case into a blip; the government could get its people's attention much more effectively if each case turned into an ongoing story, giving the Ministry of Health more chances to warn people about the threat they're facing.
This makes me wonder if still more H5N1 cases are in intensive care in Phnom Penh's hospitals, about whom we will know nothing until they die or return alive to their grateful families.
If there's any consolation in all this, it's that we can still count the cases. When we lose count, as happened very early on in Haiti, we're really in trouble.