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May 17, 2012

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Disease hits kids at much higher levels this year

THE prevalence of children with hand, foot and mouth disease in the city is much higher this year than last, and the cases are more critical, doctors said yesterday.

The disease, characterized by fever, painful sores in the mouth or throat and skin rashes, has entered its annual peak between April and June. Officials from the Shanghai Health Bureau said most HFMD patients are migrant children, and the rising caseload comes because of the increasing migrant population in the city.

The city reported 3,293 HFMD cases in March, compared to only 1,039 cases in March last year. The Shanghai Health Bureau has not released this year's April figure, but it will be higher than March, as hospitals are reporting many more patients. And May's figures appear, in turn, to be much higher than April's, doctors say.

"We had 70 to 80 patients every day last month, while the daily patients rose to 170 to 180 this month," said Dr Zhang Qingli, director of Xinhua Hospital's infectious disease department.


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