April 12, 2009
Hand-foot-mouth outbreak spreads in China
Hand-foot-mouth disease has claimed the lives of at least 15 children in Heze in eastern China, officials said Sunday.
The Shandong provincial health department said Heze had reported 5,770 cases of the contagious disease as of Saturday, with 341 considered severe, China's state-run Xinhua news agency reported. A total of 4,549 victims had recovered, the report said.
A Health Ministry official said the disease had killed 50 children nationwide as of April 7, with 115,000 cases reported, Xinhua said.
The official said the disease was restricted primarily to rural areas, with nearly 80 percent of the total occurring in 10 provinces and autonomous regions.
The illness is commonly found mainly in children under age 10. Symptoms include fever, mouth sores and a rash with blisters but it can be fatal if complications set in.