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No travel restriction to and from Cambodia - DOH

- Sheila Crisostomo - The Philippine Star

Manila, Philippines -  Health Secretary Enrique Ona yesterday said there is no travel restriction to and from Cambodia despite the discovery of a “mysterious” respiratory disease that had killed 61 children there.

Ona said he had instructed the Bureau of Quarantine to be more vigilant in carrying out routine screening procedures of passengers at all airports in the country following an outbreak of a fatal respiratory syndrome affecting mostly children in Cambodia.

The screening procedures are intended to identify in-bound travelers who have fever, although not necessarily the disease detected in Cambodia.

“We are more vigilant in screening passengers at the country’s international airports because of this latest news and there will be no let up until this has been contained,” Ona said.

The disease, which was found to have neurological symptoms, was first reported to the World Health Organization (WHO) by the Khanta Bopha Children’s Hospital in Phnom Penh.

Sixty-one children aged seven years and below died of the “mysterious” disease.

Citing WHO reports, the Department of Health (DOH) said the Ministry of Health of the Kingdom of Cambodia has identified at least 74 suspected patients who manifested fever with respiratory or neurological symptoms from April to June this year.

The Cambodian Ministry has so far reported the death of 57 patients hospitalized in Phnom Penh and four deaths in Siem Reap.

The patients experienced rapid respiratory deterioration that occurred within 24 hours of confinement.

“Although a causative agent remains to be formally identified, all (available) samples were found negative for H5N1 and other influenza virus, SARS, and Nipah virus,” the WHO report said.

Hospital staff who took care of the patients did not manifest symptoms of the disease. Transmission remains unclear but Cambodians were urged to observe personal hygiene, particularly frequent hand-washing.      

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BUREAU OF QUARANTINE

CAMBODIAN MINISTRY

DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH

HEALTH SECRETARY ENRIQUE ONA

KHANTA BOPHA CHILDREN

MINISTRY OF HEALTH OF THE KINGDOM OF CAMBODIA

NIPAH

PHNOM PENH

SIEM REAP

WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION

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