PHNOM PENH, July 8 (Xinhua) -- Sixty-four young children out of 66, having been admitted to Kantha Bopha Children's Hospitals in Cambodia since the end of April, were killed by Encephalitis, Dr. Beat Richner, Founder and Head of the Kantha Bopha Children's Hospitals, said Sunday.
"The 66 children were admitted with just same symptoms and clinical findings. The children, most between 2 and 3 years old, suffered from Encephalitis," he wrote in a letter to the media on Sunday.
Encephalitis is a serious illness caused by an infection that makes the brain swell.
"They develop in the last hours of their life a total destruction of the alveolas in the lungs," he said. "Up to now 64 have died. Only two have survived."
He said from July 2-7, there were only two more cases.
Dr. Richner said that on July 7, the Institut Pasteur could confirm that in the majority of the above described cases the Enterovirus Type 71 was found.
"Still we have now to see what really is causing the deadly pulmonary complication and see if a toxic factor is playing a role too," he said.
In the letter, Dr. Richner said that the World Health Organization (WHO) has given a declaration on July 2 to Reuters, saying that "New mystery killer disease in Cambodia"
"This was causing unnecessary panic in Cambodia," he said. " On the level of public health, it is not an alarming issue."
"This declaration by WHO, which is not at all involved in this matter, was neither professional nor necessary, but causing panic for nothing," he added.
The Kantha Bopha Children's Hospitals are the largest pediatric ones in Cambodia. The hospitals are covering 85 percent of all Cambodian sick children.