The land of heroes
Our heroes
Our land
Cambodia Kingdom

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Mystery Cambodia Disease Solved, Reportedly Exacerbated by Inappropriate Steroid Use

The mysterious illness that killed more than 60 Cambodian children has been determined, according to medical doctors familiar with the investigation.

The World Health Organization and the Cambodian Ministry of Health concluded that a combination of disease-causing micro-organisms is to blame for the illness, according to CNN reports.

Officials from the WHO investigating the outbreak have concluded that the pathogens associated with the illness, which quickly destroys the lungs of its victims, is a combination of enterovirus 71 or "hand, foot and mouth disease", streptococcus suis, which can lead to bacterial meningitis in people who have close contact with pigs or with pork products, and dengue fever which is transmitted by mosquitos.

WHO also found that steroids, which are used to help patients by suppressing their immune system, actually worsened the illness in most of the patients, sources told CNN.

While not all the pathogenic microorganisms were found in all patients, doctors concluded that the illness was caused by their combination and exacerbated by inappropriate steroid use.
CNN reported that sources did not want to be identified because the results of the WHO investigation have not yet been released to the public. However the health organization is expected to announce shortly that area healthcare workers refrain from treating patients who exhibit symptoms of the illness with steroids. Symptoms of the illness include severe fever, brain swelling, and difficulty breathing.

Health experts are worried that disease rates will spike because Cambodia is currently in its rainy season which is usually accompanied by an increase in the mosquito population and inadequate sanitation.

In the past four months, Cambodian doctors have been stumped with the mysterious disease that kills children so fast that nearly all those infected die within a day or two of being admitted to hospital.

Dr. Beat Richner, head of the children's hospitals in Phnom Penh, which cared for 66 patients affected by the illness, 64 of whom died, said that no new cases of the illness had been confirmed since Saturday, according to CNN. 

Most children who have contracted the mystery disease have come from southern Cambodia, but health officials are still investigating the location of the cluster, a specific area in the country where a lot of cases are coming from.
Read more!

Clinton Meets With Asean States Ahead of Regional Forum

“I understand that Asean faces a variety of challenges and even growing pains as it adapts and takes on new responsibilities.”

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton opened a US-Asean ministerial meeting in Phnom Penh on Wednesday, as international foreign ministers gather for a major regional security forum to open Thursday.


US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton shakes hands with US Ambassador to
 Cambodia William E. Todd upon arriving in Phnom Penh on Wednesday.
 Clinton touched down Wednesday between monsoon rainstorms. She delivered an address ahead of her meeting, saying she “strongly” supports Asean. The US has recently undertaken more engagement in Southeast Asia, where China’s influence continues to grow.

“I understand that Asean faces a variety of challenges and even growing pains as it adapts and takes on new responsibilities,” she said. “But I believe Asean plays an indispensable role in holding this region’s institutional architecture together and in advancing the common interest of all stakeholders in the Asia Pacific.

Many of those stakeholders have been meeting all week to try to reach an agreement on a code of conduct for the South China Sea, where overlapping claims by China, Vietnam and the Philippines are a major security issue for Asean. Read more!

Japan, China in fresh territorial row

Japan protested to China on Wednesday as a new diplomatic row flared over a remote chain of islands,
with Beijing asserting its "indisputable sovereignty" over the uninhabited territories.


A Japan coast guard vessel (bottom) monitors a Chinese fisheries boat (top) near the disputed Senkaku or Diaoyu islands
  1. A Japan coast guard vessel (bottom) monitors a Chinese fisheries boat (top) near the disputed Senkaku or Diaoyu islands in August 2011.Japan protested to China on Wednesday as a new diplomatic row flared over a remote chain of islands, with Beijing asserting its "indisputable sovereignty" over the uninhabited territories
 Three Chinese patrol boats approached the islands claimed by Japan in the East China Sea on Wednesday morning, leading Japanese Foreign Minister Koichiro Gemba to formally complain to his Chinese counterpart during talks in Cambodia.

Gemba "strongly lodged a protest with the Chinese government with respect to the incident which took place this morning," a foreign ministry spokeswoman told AFP in Phnom Penh.

The crews of the vessels, which have since left the islands' immediate vicinity, initially rebuffed Japanese orders to leave.

A map showing islands claimed by both Japan and China
 map showing islands claimed by both Japan and China. Japan protested to China on Wednesday as a new diplomatic row flared over a remote chain of islands, with Beijing asserting its "indisputable sovereignty" over the uninhabited territories


"We are conducting official duty in Chinese waters. Do not interfere. Leave China's territorial waters," the crews said, according to the Japanese coastguard.

The Chinese ambassador in Tokyo was summoned over the alleged violation, but the Chinese foreign ministry said it did "not accept Japanese representations over this". Read more!