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Disease Outbreak Has Killed More Than 50 Children Since April, Officials Say

  • Heng Reaksmey
  • VOA Khmer

People with their small children are waiting out side Kuntha Bopha hospital in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.

People with their small children are waiting out side Kuntha Bopha hospital in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.

Cambodian health officials say a disease that has killed more than 50 children since April has been potentially identified as a deadly virus.

Cambodian health officials say a disease that has killed more than 50 children since April has been potentially identified as a deadly virus.

According to lab results, Enterorvirus 71, which can cause hand, foot and mouth disease, or HFMD, has been identified as the cause of death for a “significant proportion” of those tested, according to officials from the Ministry of Health and the World Health Organization.

Health Minister Mam Bunheng said in a statement more investigation was ongoing.

Sok Touch, director of the communicable disease program at the Ministry of Health, said officials still do not know what caused the outbreak.

Health officials say more study is needed for the results to be conclusive.

Fever, poor appetite, malaise and sore throat are all symptoms of the disease. Within a day or two after onset of fever, painful sores develop in the mouth that can turn into ulcers.

“A person with HFMD may not have symptoms, or may have only the rash or only mouth ulcers,” the Ministry of Health said in a statement.

“HFMD virus is contagious and infection is spread from person to person by direct contact with nose or throat discharge, saliva, fluid from blisters, or the stool or infected persons. Infected persons are most contiguous during the first week of the illness, but the period of communicability can last for several weeks. HFMD is not transmitted from pets or other animals.”

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