Beijing has reported 1,025 cases of hand-foot-mouth disease in the past week, a 9.51 percent increase from the previous week, according to the Municipal Health Bureau.
As of June 19, the city had reported 1,092 cases, and a total of 4,657 people have been infected in the city so far this year, 83 percent of them under the age of five.
The municipal health authorities said the number of infections would continue to rise, and more work should be done to prevent the illness from spreading. All medical institutions have been ordered to closely monitor the disease.
Hand-foot-mouth disease, also known as coxsackievirus infection, is a common illness that mainly affects children under the age of 10. Symptoms often begin with a sore throat and may include fever, sores in the mouth, and a rash with blisters.
Moderately contagious, the disease, more common in summer and autumn, can be transmitted through nose and throat discharges. It can sometimes be fatal if complications occur.
In Linyi city, eastern Shandong Province, two boys and a girl, all under the age of two, have died from the disease this year, according to the provincial health department.
China first reported the hand-foot-mouth disease in Shanghai in 1981. An outbreak of the disease in northern Tianjin in 1983 caused more than 7,000 infections.
Last year, China reported a total of 13,637 cases of the disease, including six fatalities, according to the Health Ministry. Except for Tibet, all other provinces or regions on the Chinese mainland have reported infectious cases of the disease.
(Xinhua News Agency July 13, 2007)