Friday, July 6, 2012

Cambodian mystery

I almost posted this intriguing report of a deadly new disease in Cambodia yesterday, following the WHO press release, but there just didn't seem much information.

Cases of severe respiratory disease with neurological symptoms have been reported to the Ministry. To date, 61 of the 62 children admitted in hospitals have died from the disease.

However that hasn't stopped CNN putting it on their front page. I'll give them credit though, they do put the outbreak in some perspective:

Richner added that the number of cases affected by the unknown disease is low -- 34 cases in June, compared with the 75,000 sick children at Kantha Bopha's outpatient clinics and 16,000 hospitalized kids.

Possibilities include a brand new disease, a combination of known diseases, or some effect of a faulty drug or vaccine. Interesting clues are the age profile, all children so far, and the apparent lack of clustering which suggest something environmental rather than biological.

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