Tue, May 06, 2008 - Page 1 News List

EV-71 continues spreading, death toll mounts in China

AP AND AFP , BEIJING

Authorities have reported more than 6,300 cases in a deadly viral outbreak and yesterday raised the death toll to 26 children.

The latest fatality was in coastal Zhejiang Province. The provincial Health Ministry’s Web site said that in addition to the one death, 1,198 children had been stricken with enterovirus 71.

The ministry appealed for any sick children “to be sent immediately to health clinics” and for people to “report the case immediately to health and education departments.”

There have already been 5,151 cases reported in Anhui Province, where 22 children have died, Xinhua news agency said. Most of the cases were in or near Fuyang.

Xinhua has also reported three deaths in Guangdong.

Enterovirus 71, also known as EV-71, causes a severe form of hand, foot and mouth disease with symptoms including fever, mouth sores and rashes with blisters.

The WHO says the virus normally peaks in June and July.

The WHO representative in China, Hans Troedsson, said the disease was not a threat to the Beijing Olympics because the disease mostly sickens young children.

Troedsson, on Sunday dismissed claims by Chinese media that local authorities in Anhui had tried to cover up the initial stages of the outbreak.

China’s Health Ministry has sent teams to Anhui to coordinate treatment of the disease and prevent its spread.

State-run TV showed workers spraying disinfectant around houses in rural areas outside Fuyang and medical teams visiting families with small children.

A task force headed by Health Minister Chen Zhu (陳竺) has been established to liaise with local-level health officials on control efforts, the ministry said.

Also See: CDC reports new death from enteroviral disease

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