Cambodian kids died of strain detected in Thailand
The Disease Control Department has confirmed that the lethal hand, foot and mouth disease (HFMD) virus found in Cambodia is of the same strain previously detected in Thailand.
The virus _ suspected of being responsible for the deaths of more than 50 children in Cambodia _ is known as EV-71, said department director-general Pornthep Siriwanarangsan after receiving a report from the WHO and the Cambodian Health Ministry.
Dozens of Thai children nationwide fell ill with HFMD last month, although there have been no fatalities.
"It is the same viral strain detected in Thailand," Dr Pornthep said.
"To prevent it we must separate infected children from uninfected ones until they recover from the disease."
Lab tests in Phnom Penh have confirmed EV-71 is to blame for some of the 59 cases reviewed in Cambodia since April, including 52 deaths, according to a joint statement from the WHO and the Cambodian Health Ministry.
EV-71 is a virus that can result in paralysis, brain swelling and death.
Most of the Cambodian cases involved children under three with fevers, rapid shutdown of the respiratory system and sometimes neurological problems.
The Thai Public Health Ministry has alerted its provincial health offices nationwide over the spread of the virus causing HFMD in Cambodia.
The ministry is working closely with its Cambodian counterpart on efforts to control the spread of HFMD, Deputy Public Health Minister Surawit Khonsomboon said yesterday.
Although HFMD is a common disease, the type of virus believed to have killed the Cambodian children is a more virulent strain, Dr Surawit said.
Provincial health offices, particularly in border areas, are being instructed to work with the Disease Control Department and the Department of Health to carry out a surveillance program to watch for signs of possible HFMD infections at schools and childcare centers.
Dr Surawit said 10,813 HFMD cases were reported in Thailand from January to the end of last month, about twice the number of cases reported during the same period last year.
Institut Pasteur du Cambodge found EV-71, or enterovirus 71, in 15 of 24 patients sampled since mid-June, said Philippe Buchy, head of the Phnom Penh-based institute's virology unit, on Sunday.
10 July 2012