Mass intestinal virus infection kills 19 children

Updated: 2008-04-27 20:05

HEFEI -- A total of 19 children have died and more than 700 others fallen ill in an outbreak of a lethal intestinal virus in Fuyang City, East China's Anhui Province, since March.

"Experts from the Ministry of Health, Anhui Province and Fuyang City confirmed the virus is enterovirus 71 or EV 71 based on epidemiological surveys, clinical diagnosis and lab work," said the health department of Fuyang City.

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.

Most of the victims were aged between two and six.

By Saturday, there were 789 cases of infections, of which, 19 were fatal. A total of 204 children remain in hospital for further medical observation, of whom, four are said to be in critical conditions.

The Ministry of Health sent a team in mid-April, and they have been working with health workers to find the cause of the infection.

Chen Zhu, Minister of Health, on Saturday visited Fuyang to oversee work.

Fuyang has set up a leading group for control and prevention of the lethal virus.

Efforts to stop the infection spreading include improved disease monitoring, more epidemiological surveys and lab tests.

Schools, kindergartens and villages are being inspected for hygiene.

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