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HFMD disease claims 18 children

EIGHTEEN children have died from hand-foot-and-mouth disease in China in the last three months and more cases are expected, the Ministry of Health revealed today.

The ministry said there had been 41,846 cases recorded by noon yesterday in all provinces and regions excluding the Tibet Autonomous Region, ministry spokesman Deng Haihua said at a press conference this morning. Ninety-four children had developed severe symptoms, he said.

Deng said he expected more cases and that they would reach a peak in May and April when the disease would spread more easily in warm weather.

More than 93 percent of the affected children are under 5 years old, and laboratory tests show that nearly 75 percent were affected by the intestinal virus EV71, Deng said.

HMFD usually affects infants and children, and while occasionally fatal, most cases are mild, with the victims recovering quickly after suffering little more than a fever and rash.

Enterovirus 71, or EV71, and Cox Asckievirus A16 are the two major intestinal viruses that cause the disease.

Henan and Shandong are the worst-hit provinces and combined, they have recorded one-fifth of the all the nation's cases, Deng said.

Henan reported 4,761 cases, with 37 children showing severe symptoms. The seven deaths occurred in Kaifeng City (2), Zhoukou City (1), Minquan County (2) and Shangqiu City (2).

Shandong reported 3,280 cases with 39 children severely affected. Deaths occurred in Heze City (4) and Jining City (1).

A recent fatality involved a boy, identified only by his surname Liu. The boy was a native of Liuqiao Village, Caoxian County. He fell ill on Tuesday and died at 19:31 yesterday at Danxian County Central Hospital, according to the local health bureau.

Other deaths in Heze included a one-year-old girl identified as Wang, a 7-month-old boy identified as Liu and a 15-month-old boy identified as Zhang.

The inland city in coastal Shandong has reported 1,129 cases with 36 showing severe symptoms. Tests showed 36 children had been infected with the EV71 virus.


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