New Delhi, May 5: A nationwide alert has been issued by China in a bid to control a virus that has caused 22 deaths in one city and shows signs of spreading to other parts of the country. The Chinese Health Ministry has warned that cases of hand-foot-mouth disease (HFMD) will possibly increase in the following months since June and July are the peak seasons for the disease.
Following the 22 children's deaths reportedly caused by enterovirus 71, or EV71, in Fuyang of Anhui province, two other deaths from the same virus have been confirmed in Guangdong province, Xinhua News Agency reported yesterday. By May 2, 4,529 HFMD cases had been reported in Anhui, including 3,736 cases in worst hit Fuyang, the provincial health authority said yesterday.
According to the China Daily, several hundred cases have emerged in other places including Henan, Hubei, Shaanxi, Zhejiang, Jiangxi and Guangdong provinces as well as the Hong Kong and Macao special administrative regions.
A high-level taskforce headed by Minister of Health Chen Zhu has been set up to curb the spread of the highly contagious disease following the outbreak of EV71.
HFMD, characterized by fever, sores in the mouth and rashes on hands and feet, is not a new infection and is common among infants and children, experts say. It can be triggered by various viruses and usually does not lead to death.