Cambodia's Ministry of Health has notified the World Health Organization of an outbreak of an undiagnosed illness, which has so far killed 61 children since April 2012.
In a statement, the World Health Organization (WHO) said the majority of cases were from the southern part of the country. The symptoms observed include a high fever, followed by a rapid deterioration of respiratory functions.
The WHO is providing support for the Ministry of Health in its investigation of the cases. “The investigations will try to identify any linkages in time, place and person between the cases and also if there has been exposure to similar factors and how that can be linked . . . to a possible causative agent," WHO public health specialist Dr Nima Asgari told the Phnom Penh Post.
CNN reports that 61 of 62 children admitted to hospital had died from the disease. Initial reports indicate the illness struck children under seven years old.
Dr Denis Laurent, from Kantha Bopha Children’s Hospitals, which first raised the alarm, said the hospital was independently pursuing its own investigation.