Shots - Health Blog
9:30 am
Thu July 5, 2012

Mysterious Illness Claims Children's Lives In Cambodia

Originally published on Thu July 12, 2012 3:51 pm

The source of an unidentified illness that has led to the deaths of 61 children in Cambodia since April is under investigation, according to the World Health Organization.

Most of the reported cases occurred in southern Cambodia. Health authorities in the Southeast Asian nation say the majority of the mystery ailment's victims have been under 7, NPR's Anthony Kuhn reported.

They suffered high fevers, followed by severe respiratory problems, and in some cases neurological symptoms.

It doesn't appear that the illness, whatever it is, is being spread from person to person, WHO spokeswoman Aphaluck Bhatiasevi told the Associated Press.

The Phnom Penh Post reported that Kantha Bopha Children's Hospitals, "which first raised the alarm about the deadly illness," are investigating the outbreak. "We are working very hard, but there is no update," said Kantha Bopha's Dr. Denis Laurent, according to the Post. "We are still waiting for results, hopefully tomorrow."

Cambodian authorities have told neighboring countries about the disease, and WHO issued a global alert.

Copyright 2012 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.