Panama tries to identify lethal mystery disease
Thursday, October 04 2007 @ 10:33 AM UTC
Contributed by: Don Winner
The new mystery illness has occurred between the Panama City and the Costa Rican border, in an area known as Ngobe Bugle, one of several indigenous regions in Panama.
Ngobe Bugle is one of Panama's poorest areas, with high levels of malnutrition.
According to Nutre Hogar, a charity which works on children's health, one in three indigenous children in Panama is malnourished. One senior foreign health official, who asked not to be named, said the spate of deaths was caused by complications linked to malnutrition.
In a statement, the health ministry called on Panamanians to be alert for symptoms of the disease, which may spread more easily due to wet conditions.
The illness has struck during Panama's rainy season, which brings frequent downpours from May to December.