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Child Virus Hits China Capital

Posted by Jane Akre
Wednesday, May 14, 2008 10:03 AM EST
Category: On The Road, Major Medical, Protecting Your Family
Tags: Infectious Disease, Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease, Public Health, Childhood Diseases

Hand foot mouth disease is spreading in China with 42 deaths reported, now hits the capital of Beijing.


IMAGE SOURCE: Wikimedia Commons/ HFMD in 11 mo boy/ author: MidgleyDJ


The capital of China, Beijing reported its first cases today of the deadly hand-foot-mouth disease that has so far killed 42 children.

The children were from Chaoyand District and Hebei Province next to Beijing according to the state-run news agency. One died in the hospital, the other child died on the way to a Beijing hospital Sunday.

Eight others are in a Beijing hospital in serious condition, 32 are hospitalized and 3,606 cases are reported in Beijing as of Monday.  

So far nearly 25,000 children have been sickened by the enterovirus 71 or EV-71 a virus responsible for hand-foot-mouth disease (HFMD) which is generally not considered serious and occurs mostly in children under 10 years old.

As cases began breaking out around the country and were going unreported, late last week the Ministry of Health began mandating last week that all cases be reported.

HFMD is contagious virus spread by saliva and fluids from blisters or mucus. It is not related to the disease in farm animals. In most cases symptoms in humans include a high fever, diarrhea and sores in the mouth on the hands and feet.  But a severe case can cause a fluid buildup on the brain, eventually leading to paralysis and death.  There is no vaccine or cure for severe EV-71.  

As the August 8th date for the Summer Olympics in Beijing nears, health officials are concerned because the number of cases usually peaks in the summer months.  

The World Health Organization representative, Hans Troedsson told a news conference last week that the outbreak is not “a threat to the Olympics or any upcoming events…This is a disease mainly affecting young children,” the Associated Press quoted him.

Children and adults are being told to wash their hands before a meal and after going to the toilet.

Generally adults have a more mature immune system to fight the disease but this week’s issue of Emerging Infectious Diseases by the CDC reports of a 37-year old Japanese woman who contracted EV71 encephalitis after her sons were reported with HFMD. 

China is also trying to cope with the 7.9 magnitude earthquake that hit the southern part of the country Monday.  Thousands are reported dead and many more are still trapped in the rubble.

The CDC calls hand, foot, and mouth disease a common illness of infants and children caused by the coxsackievirus A16 that is usually not serious from with nearly all patients recover in 7 to 10 days. In rare cases, another cause the EV71 can lead to viral meningitis and rarely encephalitis or paralysis or death. 

There was a fatal outbreak in Malaysia in 1997 and Taiwan in 1998.  #

1 Comment

Anonymous User
Posted by natalie
Wednesday, May 14, 2008 2:45 PM EST

omg how scary

Comments for this article are closed.

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