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,
"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