Mysterious Disease in Cambodia

Cambodia’s Ministry of Health is probing into the mysterious disease which killed at least 61 children but the causative agent remained unidentified, the World Health Organization (WHO) said Friday.

Test of available samples showed all of them were found negative for H5N1 and other influenza viruses, SARS, and Nipah, the WHO said.

It said that 57 cases, including 56 deaths, presented a common syndrome of fever and respiratory and neurological problems, which is now the focus of the investigation.

Seventy-four cases of the disease have been identified from April to July 5, 2012, with most of those affected under three years old, according to the WHO.

Cambodia’s Ministry of Health was first alerted of the outbreak by Kantha Bopha Children’s hospital in Phnom Penh, where the majority of the cases were hospitalized.

The ministry notified WHO about this event through the International Health Regulations (IHR) notification mechanism.

WHO and its partners are assisting the ministry with the disease with a focus on hospitalized cases, early warning surveillance data, laboratory data and field investigations.

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