Sunday, March 29, 2009

China on high alert for virus that has killed 19 kids

The following is being reported by GMA News:

BEIJING – China's health minister has urged medical workers to fan out across the country's rural areas to detect and prevent cases of hand, foot, and mouth disease, which has already killed 19 children this year, state media reported Sunday.

The official Xinhua News Agency said Chen Zhu told health officials to visit every village and household in the countryside to check for cases of the child virus, after health officials said Friday that more than 41,000 cases had been detected as of March 27.

The report said the virus has killed 19 children this year, one higher than the figure given on Friday.

The outbreak appears more widespread than in recent years, based on previously released data, with about twice the number of children infected compared to the same period last year.

Chen said in a teleconference Saturday that local health authorities should report such infections promptly to the ministry and that experts should be sent to help in places where the disease is prevalent, Xinhua reported.

The disease typically strikes infants and children, and while occasionally deadly, most cases are mild, with children recovering quickly after suffering little more than a fever and rash.

State media reported last year that the virus sickened 27,000 people and killed dozens in the first few months of 2008 before reports of outbreaks subsided in May. China's central Anhui was the worst-hit province with 26 deaths. It's not known how many died nationwide.

Hand, foot, and mouth disease is characterized by fever, mouth sores and a rash with blisters. It is spread by direct contact with nose and throat discharges, saliva, fluid from blisters, or the stool of infected persons. It is not related to hoof and mouth disease, which infects cattle, sheep and pigs.

Here is the link to the original story: Virus

Links to additional reports:

18 children fall victim to disease outbreak

China is facing a serious situation in the control of hand-foot-mouth disease (HFMD) with 41,846 cases recorded so far this year as of Thursday, resulting in the deaths of 18 infants, a senior health official said on Friday.

"The epidemic is getting worse and infections are expected to peak between May and July," Deng Haihua, director of the information office of the Ministry of Health (MOH), told a press conference.

Contagious disease kills 18 kids in PRC

Highly infectious hand, foot and mouth disease has killed 18 children and infected nearly 42,000 in China this year, with the peak period still to come, a government official said yesterday.
"Currently the situation in our country on controlling the hand, foot and mouth disease is rather serious," health ministry spokesman Deng Haihua told journalists.

"The epidemic is in a stage of increasing... and we expect the peak period will come between May and June."

More to come...

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