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Disease center warns of more HFMD outbreaks

CHINA'S Center for Disease Control and Prevention has warned of long-term outbreaks of hand-foot-mouth disease among the large populations in certain regions of the country.

Zhang Jing, a CDCP official in charge of intestinal infection prevention said yesterday that the disease had been "obviously spreading" since mid-March.

Zhang said as the country had been officially monitoring the disease for only about a year, they lacked the figures to judge if the epidemic was worse than previous years.

The disease might continue to spread in the next two months since its usual peak season is between May and July, she added.

As of April 15, 25 patients, among 30,844 cases reported, died from the disease in central China's Henan Province. And 19 out of 17,158 people affected died in Shandong Province.

In the latest case, a 29-month-old boy from east China's Anhui Province died in a Shanghai hospital on April 16, six days after he fell ill.

Zhang stressed that the disease won't be spread nationwide as it is not mainly transferred through respiratory systems like SARS, measles and other highly-infectious diseases.

Hand-foot-mouth disease is a common illness that mainly affects children under the age of 10. Symptoms include fever, sores in the mouth and a rash with blisters.

The CDCP has sent expert teams to the worse-hit provinces to direct disease prevention work and research laboratories have been set up in China's 31 provinces, municipalities and autonomous regions.


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