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June 24, 2010

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Toddler the 4th to die of HFMD

AT least four children have been killed by hand, foot and mouth disease in the city this year with the latest death on Tuesday.

All four were migrant children, officials said yesterday.

Gu Shiying, a three-year-old girl from Jiangsu Province, ran a fever last Saturday. She was taken to a hospital on Tuesday morning with a high fever and died there that night.

Gu was a student at Xiaotaiyang Kindergarten and classes were halted at the school to prevent the disease from spreading.

Xiaotaiyang is an illegal private kindergarten in Tangzhen Town, Pudong New Area. It has more than 140 students.

After classes were halted, students' parents were asked to keep close watch on their children and take sick kids to hospital.

"We will impose stricter supervision on these schools," said Zhang Ming, a Tangzhen Town government official.

The town government is reluctant to shut down unlicensed kindergartens, of which there are at least 10 in Tangzhen, because it has only three kindergartens with a total enrollment of 1,200 students. There are about 2,900 children of pre-school age in the town.

Due to the kindergarten shortage, education authorities are thinking about giving well-run illegal kindergartens a legal day-care center license in order to carry out regular hygiene checks on children.

The city has suffered an earlier and more serious outbreak of hand, foot and mouth disease this year. By late May, the city reported 18,235 cases of HFMD.

Health authorities said more than 90 percent of patients are under five years old. Children under three account for nearly 60 percent of cases.

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.


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