The Department of Health (of the Philippines) and the World Health Organization (WHO) clarified that the Cambodian EV-71 was of the encephalitis type and not hand foot and mouth disease (HFMD) as reported earlier. Affected Cambodian children generally presented with fever followed by rapid respiratory deterioration and impaired consciousness. Death occurred 24 hours from hospital confinement.
EV-71 infections do occur in the country but are reported with irregularity. Fatal EV-71 infection is still very rare in the Philippines.
Signs and Symptoms:
– Often mild hand, foot and mouth disease (HFMD),
– acute respiratory disease,
– acute flaccid paralysis (polio-like)
– and the deadly brainstem encephalitis.
– HFMD is characterized as a self-limiting illness presenting with fever and accompanied by skin lesions or rashes.
Proper disposal of baby diapers or human waste, strict personal hygiene and regular hand washing prevent viral spread. The virus is known to be excreted in the feces since it is found in human intestines.
The DOH urges parents and day-care personnel to clean and disinfect toys and teaching tools that are easily shared with other children. This can prevent EV-71 infections, as there are no known effective drugs or vaccines.
‘There is still no travel restriction to and from Cambodia and incoming passengers will be subjected to thermal screening upon arrival in all international airports as a routine quarantine procedure,” Health Secretary Enrique T. Ona said.
The DOH National Epidemiology Center has included Enterovirus-71 (EV-71) infection as a notifiable disease in the country. This will compel all health providers especially physicians to report individual cases or even outbreaks.
“Mandatory notification will improve monitoring of EV-71 infections and ensure that necessary measures are in place to guarantee that the Philippines is free from the highly fatal severe form of EV-71 infections that have claimed the lives of at least 60 children in Cambodia since April this year,” Ona said.