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Undiagnosed Illness in Cambodia (Confirmed)

10 Jul 2012

As part of the investigation into the undiagnosed illness that is affecting Cambodian children, the Ministry of Health is finalizing a review of all suspected hospitalised cases. An additional 2 cases between April to 5 Jul 2012 have been identified, making the total number of children affected to be 59. Of these, 52 have died. The age of the cases range from 3 months to 11 years old, with the majority being under 3 years old.

Based on the latest laboratory results, a significant proportion of the samples tested positive for enterovirus 71 (EV-71), which causes hand foot and mouth disease (HFMD). The EV-71 virus has been known to generally cause severe complications amongst some cases.

A number of other pathogens, including dengue and _Streptococcus suis_ were identified in some of the samples. The samples were found to be negative for H5N1 and other influenza viruses, SARS and Nipah viruses.

Further investigations into matching the clinical, laboratory and epidemiological information are ongoing and are likely to be concluded in a few days. WHO and partners, which include Institut Pasteur and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, are assisting the Ministry of Health with this event.

Advice for Travellers

HFMD is a common viral illness which spreads rapidly among children in particular; outbreaks most often occur in children's nurseries and daycare centres. Transmission is via direct contact with nose and throat secretions and faeces if an infected individual and by aerosol droplet spread. Contact with infected children should be limited and crowded situations avoided; personal hygiene and handwashing is paramount in reducing transmission.