Intestinal virus sickens 1199 children, kills 20

Updated: 2008-04-29 06:14

HEFEI -- A total of 20 children have died and 1179 others fallen ill in an outbreak of a lethal intestinal virus in Fuyang City, east China's Anhui Province, since March.

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The enterovirus 71 has sickened a total of 1,199 children and kills 20 of them by Sunday night, the municipal government of Fuyang said Monday night, quoting statistics from local hospitals and center for disease control.

By Sunday night, 341 children remain in hospital for further medical observation, of whom, 27 are said to be in critical conditions and 8 terminally ill.

Hospitals in Fuyang, in northwest Anhui, started to take in children with fever, along with blisters, ulcers in the mouth, or rashes on the hands and feet,in early March. Some of the victims were diagnosed with brain, heart and lung damage.

All of the victims were aged below six, of whom, the majority being children under the age of two.

Enterovirus 71 can cause hand, foot and mouth disease which usually starts with a slight fever followed by blisters of ulcers in the mouth and on the hands and feet.

It may cause high fever, meningitis, encephalitis, pulmonary edema and paralysis in a small number of children. Paralysis is more common in children under 2 years of age and meningitis is more common in children from 2-5 years of age, said Yang Weizhong, deputy chief of Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

Infections could lead to high mortalities in serious cases and neither vaccine nor therapeutic treatment is available.

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