The never-ending adventures of a travel writer in Vietnam, Cambodia, New Zealand and throughout the Asia-Pacific region.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Is Cambodia's EV71 Outbreak Already Over-hyped?

This week an outbreak of EV71--allegedly a new strain of the virus which causes Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease, was announced here in Phnom Penh. The virus apparently kills most children who catch it, within just 24hrs of being checked into local hospitals. But is this a brand new, mysterious pandemic, with no known cure, set to wipe out children across the world? Or is this merely the latest chapter in the epidemic that has gone on in neighboring Vietnam for more than a year, with relatively few fatalities compared to other more common illnesses like Dengue and Malaria? Dr. Beat Richner of Kantha Bopha hospitals thinks WHO has hyped the illness, but now that foreign journalists are flocking to Cambodia, we'll be hearing about EV71 all-day and every-day whether it is really news or not...