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May 20, 2010

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Home » Metro » Health and Science

Disease of young kids hitting early peak

SHANGHAI cases of hand, foot and mouth disease have soared by more than 150 percent in the first five months this year, signaling an early peak season.

Health authorities said the situation requires a sanitation campaign in crowded places such as schools and wet markets to stop the virus spreading.

"The public shouldn't be panicked," Chen Qiwei, a government spokesman, told a news briefing yesterday.

As of Sunday, Shanghai reported 14,920 cases of the virus, 157 percent more than in the same period last year. More than 90 percent of patients have been younger than five.

Nearly 60 percent are younger than three.

Ninety children were deemed to have serious cases, 71 of them migrant children, many living in rural areas.

Three migrant children have died, sparking instant action by health authorities, schools and parents, health officials said.

Experts said HFMD is a preventable, controllable and treatable infectious disease, which is spread through saliva, blood and direct contact with infected people's belongings.

The disease in most cases is mild and children can recover by themselves within seven to 10 days.

Frequent hand washing and drinking water, not eating raw food, good ventilation and sunshine can protect children.


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