Mystery disease kills 61 children in Cambodia


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The Independent Online

Health chiefs in Cambodia are searching for the cause of a mystery disease that has killed more than 60 children over the past three months.

The "undiagnosed syndrome" has killed 61 of the 62 children admitted to hospital since April, but there is no indication that is it spreading from person to person, said World Health Organisation spokeswoman Aphaluck Bhatiasevi.

She said health workers were trying to determine whether the cases were the same disease or a collection of various illnesses.

The children were under 10 and first fell ill with a high fever, followed by neurological symptoms and severe respiratory problems that quickly progressed. The cases have been reported in hospitals in 14 provinces, with most occurring in southern Cambodia.

The statement quoted health minister Man Bung Heng as saying identification of the cause may take some time. It said neighbouring countries had been alerted.