Hand, foot and mouth disease (HFMD) kills at least 50 babies in China with 115,000 more cases reported
A mother kisses her child who has a fatal form of hand, foot and mouth disease at a hospital in Hefei, Anhui province April 13, 2009. The disease has killed 50 children nationwide in the year to April 7, a Health Ministry official said, adding that a total of 115,000 cases have been reported, according to Xinhua News Agency. REUTERS/Stringer. Image may be subject to copyright.
Facts about hand, foot and mouth disease in China
- China has reported a sudden rise in HFMD among young children.
- At least 50 deaths have been reported since January 2009.
- Figures show the virus has struck earlier than normal and the numbers are likely to growin the peak season between May and July, Xinhua News Agency quoted Health Ministry officials as saying.
- Health officials fear that the current strain is especially virulent.
- The health ministry has recorded 115,000 cases since January 2009
- Some 54,714 cases were reported in March alone, including 31 fatalities.
- About 95 percent of the patients are children under age 5.
- In 2008 at least 27,000 children were sickened by the virus, Xinhua reported with dozens killed by May 2008 [The actual casualty figure is a state secret.]
- The worst hit areas this year are rural areas in the provinces of Anhui, Guangdong, Guangxi, Hebei, Henan, Hubei, Hunan, Jiangsu, Shandong and Zhejiang.
- Symptoms of HFMD include fever, mouth sores and skin rashes with blisters. It is spread by direct contact with mucus, throat discharges, saliva, fluid from blisters, or feces of infected people, and has an incubation period of about seven days.
- There are no known treatment or vaccine for HFMD, however most children recover from the disease without problems.
- It is unrelated to the foot and mouth disease (FMD), aka hoof-and-mouth disease that affects livestock