Update on unknown disease in Cambodia

     The Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health today (July 9) provided an update on the latest developments regarding an unknown disease in Cambodia.

     According to the latest information from the Cambodian Ministry of Health (MoH) and the World Health Organization (WHO), the Cambodian MoH reviewed all hospitalised cases and found 59 affected children, of whom 52 have died. The majority of affected children were under 3 years old, ranging from 3 months to 11 years old. The male-to-female ratio was 1.3:1.

     A CHP spokesman said, "Laboratory findings revealed that a significant proportion of the samples tested positive for Enterovirus 71 (EV71), which causes hand, foot and mouth disease. Other pathogens (e.g. dengue and Streptococcus suis) were also identified in some samples.

     "The samples tested negative for influenza A/H5N1 and other influenza viruses, Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) and Nipah (an emerging zoonotic virus which causes severe brain inflammation (encephalitis) or respiratory diseases). Further investigation is ongoing to ascertain the exact nature of the outbreak."

     The CHP is monitoring the disease outbreak in Cambodia closely. Another letter to doctors has been issued today to keep them abreast of the updated developments and to alert them to remain vigilant about febrile patients returning from Cambodia with respiratory and/or neurological symptoms.

     The spokesman reminded members of the public to maintain their health vigilance while travelling abroad.

     "Travellers should observe strict personal and food hygiene during travel, as well as measures against insect or mosquito bites. They are advised to consult doctors immediately if they develop fever," he added.

     More travel health tips are available at DH's website www.travelhealth.gov.hk.

Ends/Monday, July 9, 2012
Issued at HKT 17:28