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Japanese Encephalitus in Cambodia

S EVENTY five cases of Japanese Encephalitus have been reported in Cambodia since

April, according to Dr. Yit Sunnara, medical chief at Cambodian Kantha Bopha Children's


The disease was first discovered at Kantha Bopha in April. Dr. Sunnara said prior

to that it was known that Japanese Encephalitus was present in neighboring countries,

but no outbreak had been discovered in Cambodia.

Dr. Sunnara said the disease is transmitted by mosquitoes living in the rice fields.

Typically the moquitoes pick up the virus by biting pigs or birds, and then pass

it on to people.

Dr. Beat Richner of Kuntha Bopha said in hte past month, '15 cases of Japanese Encephalitis

in children have been reported. Prior to that, 10 children living in Phnom Penh were

found to have Japanese Encephalitis. He said 22 cases were reported in Kandal, 7

in Prey Veng, 5 in Takeo, 8 in Kampong Cham, 2 in Kampong Thom, 5 in Kampong Speu

and 1 in Sihanoukville.

Encephalitis is a serious disease that can cause permanent memory loss or retardation,

he said.

"There is no treatment to help patients infected by the disease. The only means

to help them is to give them pre-vaccinations," he said.

Dr. Denis Laurent, who discovered the disease in April, said it is difficult to analyze

blood for Japanese Encephalitus, but the virus can be found in the blood serum. He

confirmed that his finding of the virus in April was through a specific antibody

called IGM that immediately appeared when the virus gets into the body.

The doctors submitted the research to the Ministry of Health to call for a vaccination




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