Ninety-two villagers have fallen ill in a mysterious outbreak in Poipet town, Banteay Meanchey provincial Department of Health director Le Chan Sangvat said on Tuesday. None of the cases are life-threatening, but 10 of the victims have been warded in hospital.
Chan Sangvat told The Post that all of them exhibited similar symptoms – fever, skin rashes, muscle aches and joint pains.
Emergency response and immunisation teams tended to the ill and continue to monitor their condition, he said.
Medical workers have drawn blood from all of them and are running tests for the mosquito-borne chikungunya virus, measles and rubella, he said.
The 92 have been briefed on personal hygiene, food safety and other disease prevention measures, he said. They all hail from Poipet commune’s Kbal Koh, Poipet and Prey Kub villages.
The medical personnel are also working to sanitise living environments in the vicinity of the outbreak and are taking additional measures to curb the Aedes aegypti mosquito population in target villages, he said.
“The provincial health department continues to make every effort to research and intervene in all health issues that could eventually arise in these localities, in cooperation with local authorities,” Chan Sangvat said.
He called on people with suspected health problems to seek treatment at health centres and referral hospitals.
Blood samples, he said, have been sent to Institut Pasteur du Cambodge, the National Institute of Public Health and the provincial health department.
Chan Sangvat said the public will be informed when the results of blood tests come back from the three institutions.
The Poipet Referral Hospital noted that six patients were warded on Sunday following calls from the medical teams, and four more on Monday after it sent a working group to follow up on the outbreak.
It said the patients were treated free of charge. “The senior leadership of the hospital and the team of doctors have paid great attention to saving, treating and taking care of the patients.
“All patients have shown improved conditions so far. No one appears to be at serious risk,” it said.
Provincial health department director Keo Sopheaktra told The Post on Tuesday that people exhibiting the telltale symptoms were told to maintain proper hygiene as rubella can be transmitted rather quickly via airborne droplets.
“The disease is not all that serious and is not transmitted by anything else. Once you contract rubella, it infects others quickly,” he said.