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HFMD takes new victim as toll hits 23

HEALTH authorities in east China's Shandong Province confirmed on Saturday one more child died of hand, foot and mouth disease, driving the death toll in the province to 23.

The latest death occurred on Thursday in Caoxian County, Heze City. No details about the child were available.

The total includes 18 deaths in Heze, two each in Jining and Liaocheng, and one in Yantai, the Shandong Provincial Health Bureau said.

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

Hospitals in the province were ordered to reserve enough beds and other resources to prepare for any massive outbreak, and public awareness campaigns have been mounted.

The disease 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 with 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 10. Symptoms include fever, sores in the mouth and a rash. It can sometimes be fatal if complications occur.


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