The recent viral outbreak which caused death among lives in Cambodia particularly children has been very alarming and should not be taken for granted. The viral infection called EV71 or known as Enterovirus 71 was first recognized in 1974. Over the past years serious outbreaks had been recorded mostly in the Asian countries like China, Taiwan, Malaysia, Hongkong, Vietnam and lately in Cambodia.
The disease is usually affecting children under 7 years old and has been linked to the most severe cases of HFMD (hand, foot and mouth disease), most cases reported had died within 24 hours with exhibited symptoms of fever, respiratory illnesses and widespread neurological abnormalities.
The illness is contagious as its mode of transmission is by direct contact through nose and throat discharges, saliva, fluid from blisters or the stool of infected persons.
- Persistent high fever
- Sores in the mouth, rashes with blisters on the hand or foot
- Poor appetite
- Sore throat
- Drowsiness, vomiting and sleepiness
- Limb weakness
Prevention and Management
- Practice good hygiene – washing of hands before eating and after going to the toilet
- Good ventilation or aeration
- Seclude infected patients and avoid close contact
- As the incubation period ranges from 3-7 days, infected children should refrain going to school or attending parties and group activities.
- Do not let your children share personal items such as towels and eating utensils
- Clean and disinfect regularly the touched surfaces like door knobs, furniture and toilets with diluted bleach of 1:99 concentration (mixing 1 part of 5.25% household bleach with 99 parts of water)
- Be aware of travel advisories in case you and your family will go for a journey
Currently, there is still no vaccine and specific treatment available for EV71 infection. According to studies the illness is self-limiting. Parents should pay attention to their children’s health, seek medical advice at once upon seeing symptoms to avoid serious complications.