Mysterious disease killing children in Cambodia identified

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A mysterious illness that has killed 52 children in Cambodia has been identified as a deadly viral strain of hand, foot and mouth disease, a common childhood illness.

The World Health Organization (WHO) says the disease is often a mild self limiting disease with few complications.

However, depending on the virus involved, the disease has been associated with serious complications and even death.

Hand, foot and mouth disease mainly occurs in children under 10 years old and symptoms include fever, painful sores in the mouth and blisters on the hands, feet and buttocks.

WHO says it was working with authorities in Cambodia to reinforce awareness of good hygiene practices to the public and in particular frequent washing of hands.

Tarik Jasarevic from WHO says the disease should not be confused with the foot-and-mouth disease found in animals.

"Most of the case of this disease are very mild and need treatment and after seven to 10 days the patients recover. It is transmitted through person to person, by direct contact with the nose and throat discharge, saliva fluids from blisters or the stool of an infected person. What the Ministry of Cambodia is advising patients is to have a better hygiene and if they develop symptoms to contact the nearest health facilities. There are no specific anti-viral drugs or vaccines available against enteroviruses except polio."

Duration 33″

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December 2017
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