Monday, December 22, 2014
An unlicensed medical practitioner suspected of negligently infecting more than 100 villagers in northwestern Cambodia with HIV has been charged with murder carried out with cruelty
Health officials say that 106 people out of more than 800 tested in Roka village were found to have the virus. The infected villagers range in age from 3 to 82 years old and include Buddhist monks. A senior provincial police officer says that Yem Chhrin acknowledged reusing syringes for treatment of patients, and "told us that he had no intention of spreading HIV to villagers." Roka is a community of about 9,000 rural farmers. The Health Ministry said in a statement that a team had been sent to Battambang province "to determine the source, extent, and chain of transmission of HIV infection." The outbreak began to unfold in November 2014, when a 74-year-old tested positive; his son-in-law and granddaughter were then tested, and were positive, too. Yem Chhrin has been arrested after being taken into protective custody; villagers had vowed to kill the person responsible for the mass infection. A provincial court prosecutor says that the 53-year-old, who had no formal medical training or certification, has also been charged with intentionally spreading HIV and practicing medicine without a license.