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Virus Find Helps Mystery Disease Probe in Cambodia

The investigation of a mystery disease that has killed dozens of children in Cambodia is advancing after the discovery in patient samples of a virus that causes hand, foot and mouth disease.

The Institut Pasteur du Cambodge found enterovirus 71 in 15 of 24 patients sampled since mid-June, Philippe Buchy, head of the Phnom Penh-based institute’s virology unit, said today by phone. The virus is known to cause the symptoms seen in the deaths of more than 60 children across the country since April, he said.

“This information is valuable and will help the investigation tremendously,” said Nima Asgari, leader of the emerging diseases surveillance and response group at the World Health Organization in Cambodia, which is working with the local Ministry of Health to review the illness.
 
 

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