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May 23, 2012

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Home » Metro » Health and Science

Disease at epidemic level kills one in city

ONE child has died from hand, foot and mouth disease so far this year in Shanghai, while both the nation and city have seen a rising number of patients suffering from the infectious disease, officials from the Shanghai Health Bureau yesterday.

The bureau said most patients in the city have not suffered serious symptoms and there were no big outbreaks in any specific areas. The entire epidemic situation is stable, bureau officials said, and the city has enhanced the monitoring and administration on the disease.

The disease killed two children in the city last year.

Children age three and younger are the main sufferers of HFMD, which is characterized by fever, painful sores in the mouth or throat and skin rashes.

Shanghai has required more reporting of critically sick and fatal cases, stepped up etiological and epidemiological study of the disease and urged schools and kindergartens to tighten morning checks on students.

The Children's Hospital of Fudan University and Xinhua Hospital are the two designated hospitals for critical HFMD cases. Xinhua Hospital saw 150 to 160 patients in its outpatient department per day recently, 10 percent more than the same time last year. The number reached 209 on Monday.

"We have 10 HFMD patients with serious complications like encephalitis at the ward now," said Dr Zhang Qingli from Xinhua Hospital.

Local health officials said most HFMD patients are migrant children, and the rising caseload comes because of the weather, the environment and the higher numbers of migrant people, who tend to have poor hygiene habits.

The city reported 3,293 HFMD cases in March, compared with only 1,039 cases in March and 2,094 cases in April last year. The bureau has not released this year's April figure, but it will be higher than March, as hospitals are reporting many more patients. In turn, the May figure will be higher than April, based on preliminary doctors' reports.

The Ministry of Health issued a warning in late March, requiring regional health and education authorities to step up prevention and control of HFMD, which is proliferating at higher levels and with more deaths throughout China than last year. HFMD cases on China?s mainland this March and April were more than double the same month last year.


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