The latest laboratory results showed that Enterovirus Type 71 (EV-71) was found among children who had died from undiagnosed syndrome since April, according to a joint statement of Cambodia's Health Ministry and the World Health Organization (WHO) released Sunday midnight.
"Based on the latest laboratory results, a significant proportion of the patients' samples tested positive for Enterovirus 71," said the statement, adding the samples were found negative for H5N1 and other influenza viruses.
Sixty-four young children out of 66, having been admitted to the largest children's hospitals in Cambodia since the end of April, were killed by Encephalitis.
Philippe Buchy, Head of Virology Unit at the Institut Pasteur in Cambodia, wrote in an e-mail on Sunday that 15 out of 24 patients with the encephalitis/pulmonary disease were tested positive for EV-71.
"These results now give a good explanation to this outbreak. We will get more results hopefully by next Tuesday or Wednesday," he wrote.
Cambodia's Minister of Health Mam Bun Heng said in the joint statement that further investigation is ongoing. "We hope to be able to conclude our investigation in the coming days," it said.
The EV-71 causes hand foot and mouth disease (HFMD) which results in severe complications and deaths among some patients, said the statement.
HFMD is a common infectious disease of infants and children. The symptoms include fever, painful sores in the mouth, and a rash with blisters on hands, feet and also buttocks, said the statement, adding that it is contagious and infection in spread from person to person by direct contact with nose or throat discharges, saliva, fluid from blisters, or the stool of infected persons. Presently, there is no specific treatment available for HFMD.