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Hand-foot-mouth Epidemic Claims Toddler
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A two-year-old girl has died from an outbreak of hand-foot-mouth disease in Linyi City, east China's Shandong Province, and 106 children are receiving treatment for the disease in hospitals around the city.

The girl was taken to hospital to see a doctor after developing symptoms of fever and vomiting on April 27. Two days later, she was hospitalized after her condition worsened. Doctors confirmed she had contracted hand-foot-mouth disease but were too late to save her life, said a local government spokesman.

The spokesman also said that there had been "some cases" of the disease since the beginning of the year, without providing specific figures.

After the girl had died, the city's health bureau carried out epidemiology research across the city, quarantining those infected by the disease and informing kindergartens and schools.

The 106 hospitalized children are in stable conditions, according to the local government spokesman.

The Public Health Department in east China's Shandong Province has issued a statement denying media reports claiming that several children died from an unknown disease in Linyi City on May 11.

The Public Health Department said there have been no further deaths. It urged the public not to believe the rumors.

Hand-foot-mouth disease is a common childhood illness with symptoms that include mouth ulcers, sores, fever and a skin rash. The disease is highly contagious and transmitted through saliva, air or skin contact. It can be fatal if complications occur.

The Public Health Department said the disease can be cured with proper treatment.

The Ministry of Health said it has not received any reports of an epidemic from its subordinate in Shandong province.

Ministry Spokesman Mao Anqun said the news released by authorized institutions is the most credible.

(CRI, Xinhua News Agency May 13, 2007)

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