The online news portal of TV5
GENEVA - The deadly disease plaguing Cambodia recently was caused by a severe form of Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease (HFMD), an infectious disease among infants and children, the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Cambodian Ministry of Health said Thursday.
A jointly-issued press communique from the two sides said investigation was carried out by the Cambodian government and health partners. The investigation has identified a total of 78 cases but was yet unable to test all patients as some of them died before appropriate samples could be taken.
Samples from a total of 31 patients were obtained and tested for a number of pathogens. Of these, a majority tested positive for Enterovirus 71 (EV-71) which leads to HFMD. A small proportion of samples also tested positive for other pathogens including Haemophilus Influenzae type B and Streptococcus suis.
Most of the cases were under three years old, with some suffering with chronic conditions and malnutrition. Cases found belong to 14 different provinces and many of them were given steroids at some point during their illness. Unfortunately, the investigation finds steroid use has worsened the condition of patients with EV-71.
In response, the Cambodian government, with support from the WHO, has begun enhanced surveillance for neuro-respiratory syndrome, a key syndrome observed among patients with severe HFMD caused by EV-71. Health centers have also been instructed to report patients with mild HFMD.