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April 10, 2012

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Home » Metro » Health and Science

Children's disease coming into peak but city ready

TWO children died of hand, foot and mouth disease in Shanghai last year and local hospitals have seen a rise of patients recently, as the disease enters its annual peak between April and June.

Officials from the Shanghai Health Bureau said the epidemic remained stable so far this year, with no serious cases. But nationwide, critical cases and mortality were much higher than the same period last year, with the mainland reporting 40,505 cases of HFMD in February with 11 deaths. In the same month last year, there were only 10,609 cases with three deaths.

The Ministry of Health is requiring regional health and education authorities to step up prevention and control.

"Most patients in critical condition or being killed by the disease were migrant children, whose parents have poor awareness on HFMD and don't take their children to the hospital in time," said Song Guofan, a Shanghai Health Bureau official. "The prevalence of HFMD is lower in Shanghai than other provinces, and critical patients and mortality were also lower due to public education, strict morning monitoring in kindergartens and schools and medical staff's high awareness."

The hospital said its HFMD caseload last month doubled from February and rose by 168 percent over the same month last year. Migrant children tripled the number of local children suffering the infectious disease.

Hand, foot and mouth disease is a preventable and treatable infectious disease, which is spread through saliva, blood and direct contact with infected people's belongings. Symptoms include fever, painful sores in the mouth or throat, and rash on the hands, feet, mouth and tongue.

The disease in most cases is mild and children can recover unaided in seven to 10 days. Children under three account for nearly 60 percent of cases.


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