PHNOM PENH, Cambodia (AP) — A deadly form of a common childhood illness has been linked to many of the mysterious child deaths in Cambodia that caused alarm after a cause could not immediately be determined.
The World Health Organization and Cambodian Health Ministry say lab tests have confirmed that a virulent strain of hand, foot and mouth disease, known as EV-71, is to blame for many of the 59 cases reviewed, including 52 deaths. The numbers were lowered from their initial report of 62 cases.
Last year, the disease sickened more than 110,000 people in Vietnam and killed 166, mostly children under 3.
The disease has been raging across Asia, and usually causes a telltale rash. WHO spokeswoman Aphaluck Bhatiasevi says rash was seen in only a few of the Cambodian cases.