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Mysterious Disease Kills 61 Children In Cambodia


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Mysterious disease kills 61 children in Cambodia < br />

2012-07-06 10:06:52 GMT+7 (ICT)

PHNOM PENH, CAMBODIA (BNO NEWS) -- Health officials in Cambodia are investigating a mysterious disease which has affected more than 60 children over the past three months, killing all but one of them, officials said on Wednesday. There is no evidence it is spreading from person to person.

The World Health Organization (WHO) said the unknown disease is believed to be responsible for 61 deaths since April, all of them children under the age of 10. Cambodian authorities first became aware of the issue when they were alerted by the physician of Kantha Bopha Children's hospital in Phnom Penh, the country's capital.

"[The Ministry of Health] and WHO are currently investigating the cases and possible causes of the disease are being considered but definite identification of the cause and source may take some time," Cambodian Minister of Health Man Bung Heng said in a joint Ministry of Health-WHO press release.

The unknown disease is said to start with high fever followed by respiratory and/or neurologic symptoms with rapid deterioration of respiratory functions. The majority of cases have come from the southern region of Cambodia, but no evidence has been found so far to suggest the disease is spreading from person to person.

Only one of the children believed to be suffering from the unknown disease has so far survived.

"WHO is closely monitoring the situation and is providing technical assistance to the Ministry of Health on field epidemiology, clinical management and active case finding," WHO Cambodia team leader Dr. Nima Asgari said. The agency said it has notified neighboring countries through the International Health Regulations (IHR) event information system.

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-- © BNO News All rights reserved 2012-07-06

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Warning as disease kills Cambodia kids

Mary Ann Benitez and Phoebe Man

Friday, July 06, 2012

Travelers to Cambodia are being advised to take precautions as the World Health Organization and the country's health ministry race to identify a disease that has killed 61 children since April.

However, the WHO is yet to issue a global alert regarding the disease.

Some 150 Hong Kong tourists in five groups are currently in Phnom Penh and Ankor Wat, and about 500 more in 30 tour groups are set to leave for Cambodia, which is bordered by Thailand, Laos and Vietnam.

The children, mostly under seven years old, were hospitalized starting in April, showing "severe respiratory and neurological syndrome."

Many died within 24 hours of being admitted.

More here - The Standard HK

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Mystery illness claims dozens of Cambodian children

PHNOM PENH

July 05, 2012|By Yenni Kwok, for CNN

The World Health Organization is helping the Cambodian Ministry of Health investigate the cause of a mysterious illness that has killed dozens of children in the country since April.

A joint statement from the WHO and the ministry, released Wednesday, said 61 of 62 children admitted to hospital had died from the disease. The majority of the reported cases came from southern and central Cambodia.

"[The Ministry of Health] and WHO are currently investigating the cases," Mam Bunheng, the Cambodian minister of health, said in the statement, "possible causes of the disease are being considered, but definite identification of the cause and source may take some time.

Initial reports from the Cambodian government indicate that the unknown illness struck children under seven years old.

More - CNN

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under 7 years old...

because they are small enough to sit in the bathtub (vaginal/rectal contamination), while the older ones wash/bath elsewhere?

dunno, just wondering - i am still thinking of a "deadly swimming pool" ...

Edited by dingdang
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It is front page news in Cambodia, rest assurred.

From its pattern it does not look infectious. Or if it is infectious, it is something only the young are susceptible to and very hard to transmit.

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Investigators probe mystery disease killing Cambodian children

The World Health Organization and Cambodian health officials are investigating why at least 61 children in the country have died mysteriously after suffering severe neurological and respiratory complications.

Dr. Beat Richner of the Kantha Bopha Children's Hospitals, who first alerted Cambodia's health authorities about the unknown disease, said that as of Friday he knew of 64 cases in which only two children have survived.

The Cambodian Ministry of Health said that 56 of the deaths were preceded by a common syndrome of fever and respiratory and neurological problems.

Seventy-four cases of the disease have been identified, the ministry said.

Countries surrounding Cambodia were informed of a deadly disease that killed dozens of children this week through the International Health Regulations event information system, which provides public health communications.

In Hong Kong, a major air hub in the region, health officials responded by alerting doctors to be watchful for patients returning from Cambodia who have respiratory symptoms. Travelers who have been to Cambodia were told to visit their doctors if they developed respiratory symptoms.

The unknown illness appears in children, according to the WHO and the Cambodian Ministry of Health.

A majority of the identified cases were in children under 3, the health ministry said.

...

More at - CNN.com

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its been found !

The Pasteur Institute in Phnom Penh, the Cambodian capital, announced on Sunday that tests indicate the unknown sickness that has led to the deaths of 64 children and hospitalisation of 66 is the Enterovirus 71.

The virus is a strain of hand, foot and mouth disease (HFMD) that is widespread in Asia, but not usually found in Cambodia.

HFMD is a human ailment caused by intestinal viruses, and not to be mistaken for foot-and-mouth disease, which only affects animals. Infected children generally suffer from high fever, rashes, respiratory and sometimes neurological problems

Edited by dingdang
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strange, this has been reported by al jazeera already one hour ago, while 20 minutes ago the bangkokpost publishes a new article saying "nobody knows" blah blah...

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Enterovirus 71 behind 'mystery disease'

MANILA, Philippines – It's not bird flu or SARS. It's Enterovirus 71.

This virus is behind the “mystery illness” that killed 64 young children and hospitalized 66 in Cambodia, scientists in Phnom Penh said on Sunday, July 8.

The Pasteur Institute in Phnom Penh announced that it discovered Enterovirus Type 71 in about two-thirds of patients. The virus is the “perfect explanation” for the deaths, according to the institute’s virology unit head Philippe Buchy who was cited by Bloomberg.

“We can now focus on how to contain it,” Buchy said.

Enterovirus Type 71 is a strain of hand, foot and mouth disease (HFMD), which is widespread in Asia but rare in Cambodia.

HFMD, a human disease due to intestinal viruses, is not the same as foot-and-mouth disease, which only affects animals. Children affected by HFMD generally suffer high fever, rashes, respiratory and, sometimes, neurological problems.

It took longer for the experts to identify the virus since, in the 64 of the 66 deaths reported since April, the child’s health deteriorated faster than expected.

The Enterovirus 71 usually does not lead to such quick deaths.

Most of the 64 who died are between the ages of two and three, according to Swiss pediatrician Beat Richner of Kantha Bopha children's hospital in Phonm Penh where most of the patients were taken.

"All these children have encephalitis (inflammation of the brain) and in the later hours of their life they develop a severe pneumonia with a destruction of the alveoli in the lungs. That is the reason they die," he said. The alveoli, or air sacs, are pockets in the lungs where the exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide takes place.

Children admitted to hospitals with symptoms including high fever, breathing difficulty and neurological problems had rapid deterioration of respiratory function, Joy Rivaca Caminade, a technical officer with WHO’s Regional Office for the Western Pacific in Manila, told Bloomberg on July 6.

"This information is valuable" in the investigation, according to Nima Asgari, the leader of the emerging diseases surveillance and response group at the World Health Organization (WHO) in Cambodia, which is working with the local health ministry since July 4.

So far, no cases have been reported outside of Cambodia. It also does not appear to be contagious, Al Jazeera said.

Nonetheless, the Philippines had tightened airport screening efforts in response to the "mystery illness."

The WHO has put neighboring countries on alert about the killer disease.

- Rappler.com and AFP

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-- (c) Copyright AFP 2012-07-08

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