Health Ministry investigates unknown disease reported in Cambodia

Joint news release between the Ministry of Health Kingdom of Cambodia and the World Health Organization

The Cambodia Ministry of Health, in partnership with the World Health Organization (WHO) and other partners, is currently conducting an active investigation of an unknown disease in Cambodia. The focus of the investigation is in finding out the cause of the disease for appropriate treatment and control.

Cases of severe respiratory disease with neurological symptoms have been reported to the Ministry. To date, 61 of the 62 children admitted in hospitals have died from the disease.

The Ministry was first alerted to this issue by the physician of Kantha Bopha Children's Hospital in Phnom Pehn. The unknown disease starts with high fever followed by respiratory and/or neurologic symptoms with rapid deterioration of respiratory functions. Majority of the cases came from the southern part of the country. No apparent clustering of cases had been seen so far.

"MoH 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," according to H.E. Man Bung Heng, Minister of Health.

Neighbouring countries have already been officially informed through a posting made through the International Health Regulations (IHR) event information system. All National IHR focal points have also been informed.

Dr Nima Asgari, Team leader of the WHO Country Office in Cambodia said that "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."

For more information on human influenza, please contact:

Ministry of Health Influenza hotline numbers:
115 (free call); 012 488 981
or 089 669 567

or contact:

Ministry of Health
Dr Sok Touch
+855 12 856 848

Dr Ly Sovann
+855 12 825 424

World Health Organization
Dr Pieter Van Maaren
+855 23 216 610

Dr Nima Asgari
+855 23 216 610