What disease kills children in Cambodia

An outbreak of unknown disease instantly claimed the lives of more than 60 small patients. All the children had the same symptoms, high temperatures, neurological disorders, severe respiratory dysfunction. Virtually all of the toddlers died a few hours after the first clinical symptoms appeared.

Conducted laboratory studies allowed to exclude avian influenza, suspicion of which arose among doctors. Liver and kidney function in victims remained normal. Radiogram, computer and magnetic resonance imaging carried out by patients upon admission to the hospital helped confirm that the toddlers’ lungs were completely destroyed within several hours.

Medical staff who assisted the toddlers were not injured. Also, members of the families of medical workers remained perfectly healthy. This suggested that the disease was not contagious.

For a long time doctors could not give mass deaths a logical explanation, until the Pasteur Institute was engaged in research of the phenomenon of mass death.

The institute examined tests of 24 patients. In 15 cases, positive reactions to enterovirus type 71 were confirmed.

This disease was first identified in California in 1969. EV71 includes 11 serotypes of Coxsaki A virus and is part of the group of dangerous pathogenic non-polio enteroviruses. The virus affects the central nervous system, causing severe pathological disorders. Can cause paresis, paralysis, meningitis, encephalitis, heart failure, lung destruction, shock, coma, lethal outcome.

The World Health Organization is asking Cambodia’s top specialists to understand in more detail the cause of the outbreak and provide a detailed report.

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