The number of cases of hand-foot-mouth disease in Fuyang, a city in the eastern province of Anhui, rose to 3,736 as of early Saturday from 3,321 on Friday, local authorities said.
So far, 4,529 children have been sickened by the virus, known as enterovirus 71, or EV71, in 15 cities in Anhui. The cities with the most cases were Fuyang, Huainan, Bozhou, Bengbu and Hefei, a provincial health department spokesman said.
Wang Jinshan, secretary of the Provincial Committee of the Communist Party of China, visited hospitals in Fuyang on Friday and called for a long-term system to prevent outbreaks of major infectious diseases.
Forty-five medical specialists dispatched by the Health Ministry and the provincial health department have arrived in Fuyang.
The province has upgraded its public health emergency status from class three to class two, which means the provincial government can quarantine patients and control movements in and out of Fuyang.
EV71 can cause hand, foot and mouth disease that usually starts with a slight fever followed by blisters and ulcers in the mouth and rashes on the hands and feet.
It can also cause high fever, meningitis, encephalitis, pulmonary edema and paralysis in a small number of children.
(Xinhua News Agency May 4, 2008)