[QODLink]
Asia-Pacific
Mystery disease kills scores of Cambodia kids
World Health Organization says 61 of the 62 children admitted to hospitals with the illness have died.
Last Modified: 05 Jul 2012 03:05

Health officials in Cambodia are searching for the cause of an unidentified disease that has killed more than 60 children in three months

The Health Ministry and the World Health Organisation said in a statement on Wednesday that they are investigating the severe respiratory disease which also has neurological symptoms.

They said 61 of the 62 children admitted to hospitals with the illness have died. Most cases have come from southern Cambodia, but with no apparent links between them.

WHO also said there were no signs yet of contagion.

"To date, there is no report of any staff or any neighbouring patients to the cases at the hospitals becoming sick with similar symptoms," it said.

With the investigation still at an early stage, Dr Nima Asgari, a public health specialist for the UN body in Cambodia, said it was difficult to specify the symptoms, which "include high fever and severe chest disease symptoms, plus in some children there were signs of neurological involvement".

Asgari confirmed there was "no cluster of the cases yet" but said the high mortality rate in such a short space of time was worrisome.

"WHO is always concerned about a disease which causes death in such high numbers of children," he told AFP.

The victims, all aged seven and under, were admitted to hospitals in the capital Phnom Penh and the northwestern tourist hub of Siem Reap.

233

Source:
Agencies
Topics in this article
People
Country
City
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
Muslim volunteers face questioning and threat of arrest, while aid has been disrupted or blocked, charities say.
Six months on, outrage and sorrow over the mass schoolgirl abduction has disappeared - except for families in Nigeria.
ISIL combatants seeking an 'exit strategy' from Mideast conflict need positive reinforcement back home, analysts say.
European nation hit by a wave of Islamophobia as many young fighters join ISIL in Syria and Iraq.
Featured
Lacking cohesive local ground forces to attack in tandem, coalition air strikes will have limited effect, experts say.
Hindu right-wing groups run campaign against what they say is Muslim conspiracy to convert Hindu girls into Islam.
Six months on, outrage and sorrow over the mass schoolgirl abduction has disappeared - except for families in Nigeria.
Muslim caretakers maintain three synagogues in eastern Indian city, which was once home to a thriving Jewish community.
Amid fresh ISIL gains, officials in Anbar province have urged the Iraqi government to request foreign ground troops.