DOH to set rules on ‘mystery’ virus
The Department of Health is set to issue guidelines on the mandatory reporting of enterovirus-71 that has killed over 50 children in Cambodia

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Health (DOH) on Wednesday, July 11, said it will soon issue guidelines on reporting infections due to enterovirus-71 (EV-71), the so-called mystery virus that has killed 52 children in Cambodia.

The DOH on Tuesday, June 10, made EV-71 a “notifiable” disease, a status that legally requires individuals and health facilities to report it to public health authorities.

Despite this, the DOH said it sees no need for stricter travel policies. “No travel restrictions to and from Cambodia are necessary at this time even as the DOH Bureau of Quarantine continue to screen in-bound travelers at all points of entry,” the agency said.

HOPING FOR CURE. Parents and children line up for hours to avail of free medical treatment at the Kantha Bopha Children's Hospital in Phnom Penh. Photo by Paul John Cana

“Unnecessary panic” is also unneeded, officials of a Cambodian hospital also said Tuesday as they slammed the World Health Organization (WHO) for agitating other countries over this. (Read: ‘No need to panic,’ Cambodia says on virus.)

EV-71 is a strain of hand, foot, and mouth disease (HFMD) that is widespread in Asia but rare in Cambodia. (Read: Enterovirus 71 behind ‘mystery disease.’)

Children suffering from HFMD generally experience high fever, rashes, and respiratory and even neurological problems. A human disease due to intestinal viruses, HFMD is different from foot-and-mouth disease, which only affects animals.

“Non-fatal EV-1 infections, including HFMD, have been infrequently reported in the past in the Philippines. The DOH is now working with WHO authorities to guarantee proper reporting of these cases,” the DOH explained. –

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