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'Mysterious disease'- Is traveling with kids to Cambodia wise?

  • natsuyasumi

    Joined Travelfish
    9th July, 2012
    Posts: 2

    We are planning to travel to Cambodia at the end of this month with our 3 kids: 4,6,11. However, since we started hearing about this 'mysterious disease', we are wondering if it is better to reconsider our trip to cambodia. I am sure there are many expats living in Cambodia with children. I wonder if I can hear their opinions on this and what kind of precautions they have been advised to take.

    Thank you

    #1 Posted: 9/7/2012 - 18:05

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  • busylizzy

    Joined Travelfish
    31st December, 2007
    Location New Zealand
    Posts: 2155
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    I can't really offer any advise, sorry, but just wanted to share more of the background story with anyone else reading this post. It featured in our local paper recently:

    "The World Health Organization (WHO) is helping Cambodia investigate the cause of an unknown disease that has killed at least 60 children under seven years old, most of whom died within 24 hours of being admitted to hospital."


    #2 Posted: 9/7/2012 - 18:52

  • caseyprich

    Joined Travelfish
    3rd March, 2010
    Location China
    Posts: 1281
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    At least 48

    Appears to be a strain of Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease. Most serious for children under 5 according to the article, children under 3 most affected in Cambodia.


    #3 Posted: 9/7/2012 - 21:56

  • phuphum

    Joined Travelfish
    22nd October, 2011
    Posts: 49

    As the father of an eight yer old girl and nine year old boy living locally in rural Cambodia I share your concern. Here is an alert from the American Embassy

    July 10, 2012

    Update on Illness in Cambodian Children

    The World Health Organization (WHO) and the Cambodian Ministry of Health (MOH) released an update on Sunday, July 8, on the active investigation of the undiagnosed illness affecting children in Cambodia. The MOH identified 59 hospitalized cases, of which 52 had died. The age of affected children ranged from 3 months to 11 years old, with the majority being under 3 years of age. Based on the latest laboratory results, a number of samples tested positive for enterovirus 71 (EV71). EV71 is recognized as a cause of hand, foot, and mouth disease (HFMD). HFMD is a common viral illness that causes frequent outbreaks. It usually affects children and is characterized by fever, blister-like sores in the mouth, and a skin rash. In outbreaks of EV71, most children have typical symptoms of HFMD and recover without health complications. However, a small number of people with this disease develop severe complications (e.g., meningitis or encephalitis) requiring hospitalization or causing d

    How is EV71 transmitted? EV71 spreads from person to person by direct contact with the infectious virus that causes this disease. This virus is found in nose and throat secretions (such as saliva, sputum, or nasal mucus), fluid in blisters, and in the stool of infected persons. The virus may also be spread when infected persons touch objects and surfaces that are then touched by others.

    Infected persons are most contagious during the first week of the illness. The virus can remain in the body for weeks after a person's symptoms have gone away. This means that infected people can still pass the infection to others even though they may appear well. Also, some people who are infected and spreading the virus, including most adults, may have no symptoms.

    HFMD is not transmitted to or from pets or other animals.

    How do you prevent infection? There is no vaccine to protect against the virus that causes HFMD. A person can lower their risk of being infected by:

    - Washing hands often with soap and water, especially after changing diapers and using the toilet.
    - Disinfecting dirty surfaces and soiled items, including toys. First wash the items with soap and water; then disinfect them with a solution of chlorine bleach (made by mixing 1 tablespoon of bleach and 4 cups of water).
    - Avoiding close contact such as kissing, hugging, or sharing eating utensils or cups with people with HFMD.

    If you or your child has a fever, rash, or experiences difficulty in breathing you should contact a healthcare professional.

    More information can be found on the CDC's website: http://www.cdc.gov/hand-foot-mouth/index.html

    WHO and partners, including Institut Pasteur du Cambodge, Kantha Bopha hospital, and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, are assisting the MOH with the ongoing investigation.

    We encourage you notify us of your presence in Cambodia by enrolling in the Department of State's Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP).

    The American Citizen Services Unit of the U.S. Embassy is located at #1 Street 96, Phnom Penh, Cambodia and can be reached by calling 023-728-000, or by e-mailing ACSPhnomPenh@State.gov

    #4 Posted: 10/7/2012 - 01:07

  • natsuyasumi

    Joined Travelfish
    9th July, 2012
    Posts: 2

    Thank you very much for the response.
    I know at least now what I should watch out for.

    #5 Posted: 10/7/2012 - 04:22

  • worldnomad

    Joined Travelfish
    29th October, 2005
    Posts: 5

    CNN has a good introduction video to this:


    To note: They are not sure it is EV71 yet (as of July 10th) and more tests are needed, some of the symptoms and spread of the disease do not match what is expected for EV71. It is an extremely small percentage of children, the alarming thing is that almost all the children admitted with the symptoms have died (64 out of 66) and go from initial symptoms to death within 2 days.

    #6 Posted: 10/7/2012 - 08:31


    Joined Travelfish
    6th June, 2009
    Posts: 6953
    Total reviews: 10

    Is it all over Cambodia or is the outbreak in a specific geograghic part of the country? If it's geograghic specific, I'd just avoid that area. But if it's not, I think I'd skip Cambodia and go somewhere else this go round. I have a five year old daughter and to me, at least, the benefit isn't worth the risk.

    #7 Posted: 10/7/2012 - 13:51

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