MANILA, Philippines – Two children have tested positive for enterovirus, the Department of Health (DOH) said on Monday.
DOH Assistant Secretary Eric Tayag said health officials have yet to determine whether the strain found was Enterovirus-71 (EV-71), which was linked to the death of over 50 children in Cambodia, state-run Philippine News Agency reported.
The DOH said EV-71 causes different diseases of varying intensities. There is no known drug or vaccine yet to combat EV-71 infections.
EV-71 may also cause mild hand, foot and mouth disease, acute respiratory disease, acute flaccid paralysis (polio-like) and the deadly brainstem encephalitis.
"This proves that we really have HFMD in the country, (but) so far these children are alive or not in critical condition," Tayag said.
"That should not surprise the people if there are about 300 to 500 cases of detected HFMD in the country," he added.
The DOH said enterovirus affects millions of people worldwide each year, and are often found in the respiratory secretions (e.g., saliva, sputum, or nasal mucus) and stool of an infected person.
There are still no travel restrictions to and from Cambodia, but passengers will be subjected to thermal screening.
To prevent the spread of EV-71, the DOH is urging the proper disposal of baby diapers or human waste, strict personal hygiene and regular hand washing.
The virus is known to be excreted in the feces since it is found in human intestines.