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Macao reports 90 hand-foot-mouth cases
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Macao recorded 90 cases of hand-foot- mouth disease (HFMD) so far, only four of which were confirmed as enterovirus 71 (EV71) infections, local health authorities announced Thursday.

Two new cases were found at a local day care center, where the most severe HFMD outbreak occurred, with 16 pupils diagnosed with HFMD, and all four of the EV71 infection cases were found there, according to a press statement released by the Disease Preventive and Control Center of Macao's Health Bureau (SSM).

As the peak time for intestinal virus infections comes, "more cases will be reported in the coming months," SSM said in the statement, adding that the number of HFMD cases recorded this year is set to be higher than last year.

SSM first confirmed the occurrence of HFMD at the day care center last Friday, which has been sealed for thorough cleaning and disinfecting.

HFMD is caused by more than one type of viruses, and most of the cases involve young children, according to information posted on the website of China's Health Ministry.

EV71 is one of the most common viruses that can cause HFMD, which usually starts with a slight fever followed by blisters and ulcers in the mouth and rashes on the hands and feet. If the disease develops, it can lead to death.

Officials of the SSM Control Center also held a video conference with its Hong Kong counterparts Thursday afternoon, exchanging information of the current HFMD outbreak in the region.

Number of HFMD cases reported in China this year jumped to 19, 962 as of Wednesday, resulting in 28 deaths, according to a Xinhua tally of official figures released by provincial authorities.

Of all the victims, 22 were in Anhui and three in Guangdong, with the rest in Zhejiang, Guangxi and Hunan, respectively.

(Xinhua News Agency May 9, 2008)

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