A top Chinese leader called for stepped-up research into vaccines and drugs for hand, foot and mouth disease after 40 children died from outbreaks last month, a state news agency said yesterday.
The Ministry of Health reported 77,756 cases of the disease last month, a sharp increase from 10 in February.
“Preventing and controlling various infectious diseases such as the hand-foot-mouth disease is a key task,” Xinhua news agency quoted Chinese Vice Premier Li Keqiang (李克強) as saying.
China sees deadly outbreaks of hand, foot and mouth disease every spring and summer, particularly in rural areas where hygiene is poor. There were 353 deaths from the disease last year, Health Ministry figures showed.
Li called for more research into vaccines and drugs to fight the disease, plus stronger prevention and control efforts, Xinhua said.
Outbreaks were reported in southern China’s Guangxi Autonomous Region as well as Guangdong, Henan, Hebei and Shandong provinces.
Currently, there is no vaccine or specific treatment for the virus, but most children recover quickly without problems.
The virus is unrelated to the foot and mouth disease that affects livestock.
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