HAT TIP TETANO
July 11, 2012 -- Updated 0936 GMT (1736 HKT)
Phnom Penh, Cambodia (CNN)
-- The World Health Organization, in conjunction with the Cambodian Ministry of Health, will conclude that a combination of pathogens is to blame for the mysterious illness that has claimed the lives of more than 60 children in Cambodia, medical doctors familiar with the investigation told CNN on Wednesday.
The pathogens include enterovirus 71, streptococcus suis and dengue, the medical sources said. Additionally, the inappropriate use of steroids, which can suppress the immune system, worsened the illness in a majority of the patients, they said.
The sources did not want to be identified because the results of the health organization's investigation have not yet been made public.
Dr. Beat Richner, head of Kantha Bopha Children's Hospitals -- which cared for 66 patients affected by the illness, 64 of whom died -- said that no new cases had been confirmed since last Saturday.
The World Health Organization (WHO) is also expected to advise health care workers to refrain from using steroids in patients with signs and symptoms of the infection, which include severe fever, encephalitis, and breathing difficulties.
Over the past four months, doctors at Kantha Bopha in Phnom Penh have been faced with the mysterious syndrome, which kills children so fast that nearly all of those infected with it die within a day or two of being admitted to the hospital.
In the last hours of their life, the children experienced a "total destruction of the alveola(e) in the lungs," Richner said.
Other hospitals in the country have also reported similar cases, but far fewer than..