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22 kids die from HFMD

TWENTY-TWO children had died of hand, foot and mouth disease as of Sunday in eastern China's Shandong Province, the provincial health administration announced yesterday.

The total included 17 deaths in Heze, two each in Jining and Liaocheng, and one in Yantai.

The populous province has reported 29,227 cases of the contagious disease, 826 of which were severe, local health authorities said. So far, 23,161 have recovered.

Hospitals in Shandong were ordered to reserve enough beds and resources to prepare for any massive outbreak, and public awareness campaigns have begun.

The disease had killed 50 children nationwide this year as of April 7, the Ministry of Health said earlier.

According to the ministry, the disease was mainly reported in rural areas and nearly 80 percent of the total cases were in 10 provinces and autonomous regions including Shandong, Henan, Jiangsu, Guangxi and Zhejiang.

Zhang Jing, an official in charge of intestinal-infection prevention at China's Center for Disease Control and Prevention, has said the disease would not spread nationwide as it was not mainly transmitted through respiratory systems, unlike SARS, measles and other highly infectious diseases.

Hand, foot and mouth disease mainly affects children under the age of 10. Symptoms include fever, sores in the mouth and a rash.


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