Update on investigation of the unknown disease in Cambodia – 6 July 2012
CAMBODIA, 6 July 2012 - The Cambodian Ministry of Health, in partnership with the World Health Organization (WHO) and other partners is currently conducting active investigation on the undiagnosed syndrome that affected children in Cambodia.
Preliminary findings identified a total of74 cases who were hospitalized from April to 5 July 2012. Ofthese 57 cases (including 56 deaths), presented a common syndrome of fever, respiratory and neurological signs, which is now the focus of the investigation.
Majority of the identified cases to date were under three years old. Most of them were from the Southern and Central parts of the country, and received treatment at Kantha Bopha Children's hospital, which is a reference pediatric hospital. Despite all efforts, many of the children died within 24 hours of admission.
"The investigation is ongoing. We are looking at detailed information from the hospital records and analysing each and every case. We hope to have a better picture in the coming days," said Dr. Ly Sovann, Deputy Director, Communicable Disease Control Department, MoH.
A few samples were available and were tested at lnstitut Pasteur du Cambodge. Although a causative agent remains to be formally identified, these samples were found negative for H5Nl and other influenza viruses, SARS and Nipah.
The MoH was first alerted to this by Kantha Bopha Children's hospital in Phnom Penh, where ipajority of the cases were hospitalised. The MoH notified WHO about this event through the International Health Regulation notification mechanism, as it met the criteria for notification of any event where the underlying agent or disease or mode of transmission is not formally identified.
The MoH notified WHO about this event through the International Health Regulation notification mechanism, as it met the criteria for notification of any event where the underlying agent or disease or mode of transmission is not formally identified.
WHO and partners are assisting the MoH with this event which focuses on hospitalized cases, and early warning surveillance data, laboratory and field investigations.
H.E. Mam BunHeng, Minister of Health said while the MoH is actively investigation into the cause of this event, special attention is also paid to other diseases occurring in the country, including dengue, hand-footmouth and Chikungunya.
Parents are advised to bring their children to hospitals if they see any signs of unusual illnes~tt:- ~~ their children at home if they are sick.
The MOH would like to reinforce to the public, to maintain good hygiene practices - wash hands often and always take care to sick children.