East China's Fujian Province reported 113 cases of infectious intestinal disease this month and three children were confirmed to have died of hand-foot-mouth disease (HFMD).
All the cases were reported in Jian'ou City from October 1 to 17, said Wang Xiying, an official with the provincial health department.
The three victims, two boys and a girl, were below one year of age, the spokesman said. They were from different towns of the city, she said.
Among the infected, 22 were still under treatment in hospital and 29 others under medical observation, she added.
Wang said the disease was reported sporadically and the patients remain in stable conditions, without specifying any further details.
Experts said the disease was still epidemic in some parts of Fujian and warned the public to seek immediate medical treatment when symptoms occurred.
The provincial government has dispatched eight epidemic prevention experts to the Jian'ou City to assist local medical staffs in their city-wide medical checks on infants and children.
Ward beds and testing equipments have been added to meet the needs of the patients. Local disease prevention staff are ordered to regularly inspect kindergartens, schools and residential communities to prevent the epidemic from spreading.
HFMD can be caused by a host of intestinal viruses, but EV71 and the Coxsackievirus (Cox A16) are the most common. It usually starts with a slight fever followed by blisters and ulcers in the mouth and rashes on the hands and feet. It can also lead to meningitis, encephalitis, pulmonary edema and paralysis in some children. There is no vaccine.
There was a HFMD outbreak in parts of south China in the spring. In Fuyang of Anhui Province, the worst hit area, 22 children died of intestinal virus clinically diagnosed as EV71, alongside tens of thousands of infections.
(Xinhua News Agency October 20, 2008)