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Infectious intestinal disease on rise in NE China
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Cases of infectious intestinal disease were on the rise this summer in Jilin Province, northeast China, and three children were confirmed dead of hand-foot-mouth disease (HFMD) in the period from May 1 to July 23.

There were 6,590 cases of infectious intestinal disease from May 1 to July 23, a rise of 170.2 percent from the same period last year, said the provincial health department at a news briefing held on Thursday.

The news briefing was organized to give a round-up report of disease control in the province in the past three months.

Of the total, HFMD cases made up 4,141. And 3,610 children who fell ill with the diseases were under the age of five.

Medical examinations found enterovirus 71 (EV71) was responsible.

Local health officials refused to provide more details regarding the three deaths.

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.

Those sickened by EV71 often show serious symptoms. 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 spring. In Fuyang, the worst hit area, 22 children died of intestinal virus clinically diagnosed as EV71, alongside tens of thousands of infections.

(Xinhua News Agency July 25, 2008)

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