Hand-foot-mouth epidemic continues to infect children across China
Hand-foot-mouth epidemic continues to spread across China, with 25 children dead
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Monday, 05, May 2008 11:13
More than 8,531 cases of children infected with hand-foot-mouth disease (HFMD) have been reported in China as the disease continues to spread across the country.
So far, 25 children have died, with tests confirming that 24 of the deaths were triggered by the virus known as enterovirus 71 or EV71.
All the children who have been infected with the disease are aged below six, with most of them being under two.
Twenty-two of the deaths occurred in Fuyang, a city in northwestern Anhui Province and the rest took place in Guangdong Province, south China.
Other parts of the country where the disease has hit include Henan, Hubei, Shaanxi, Zhejiang and Jiangxi provinces as well as the Hong Kong and Macao special administrative regions.
Those who contract the virus often show serious symptoms. It can lead to meningitis, encephalitis, pulmonary edema and paralysis in some children.
Chinese authorities have issued a nationwide alert in an effort to control the virus. The ministry of health says on its website that "HFMD is highly preventable and can be treated".
On Saturday, the ministry warned that cases of hand-foot-mouth disease are likely to rise in the coming months since June and July are the peak seasons for the disease.
"While not all the children infected with the virus develop the lethal complications, prevention and early diagnosis and treatment are crucial for recovery" said Liu Xiaolin, a leading doctor at Fuyang No 2 People's Hospital, which has been designated for treatment of the disease, according to Zehjiang Online.