Mystery Disease Kills 61 Children in Cambodia

World Health Organization is investigating
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jul 5, 2012 3:33 PM CDT
The logo of the World Health Organization is seen at the WHO headquarters in Geneva.   (AP Photo/Anja Niedringhaus)

(Newser) – A World Health Organization expert says it's too early to know whether a mixture of known diseases or something new is responsible for the deaths of more than 60 children in Cambodia. The mystery disease has killed 61 of the 62 children hospitalized since April, but there's no indication it is spreading from person to person. Patients suffer a high fever, followed by severe respiratory problems that progress quickly. Some also experience neurological symptoms.

Dr. Nima Asgari of the WHO in Phnom Penh said today that health workers are combing through victims' records to try to determine whether the problem is a combination of known ailments or a new disease. Most patients reported were under 7 years old and were spread across several provinces in southern and central Cambodia.

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