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Deadly virus spreads from Anhui to Henan
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A deadly virus that has killed 20 children in Anhui Province has already spread to Henan Province, an Anhui city government has warned.

The outbreak of Enterovirus 71 has expanded from Fuyang City in Anhui to neighboring counties, including some places in Henan, the Fuyang government told a news conference late yesterday, People's Daily said on its Website today.

By Sunday, a total of 20 children had died and 1,179 others had fallen ill in an intestinal virus outbreak in Fuyang since March.

A total of 341 children remain in hospital. Twenty-seven of them are said to be in critical condition, the report said.

All of the victims were less than six years old and most were less than two years old.

Enterovirus 71 can cause hand, foot and mouth disease. It usually starts with a slight fever followed by blisters or ulcers in the mouth and on the hands and feet.

Serious infections can lead to death. No vaccines or therapeutic treatments are available.

Hospitals in Fuyang started to take in children with fever, along with blisters, ulcers in the mouth or rashes on the hands and feet in early March. Some of the victims were diagnosed with brain, heart and lung damage.

It may cause high fever, meningitis, encephalitis, pulmonary edema and paralysis in a small number of children. Paralysis is more common in children under two years of age and meningitis is more common in children from two to five years of age, said Yang Weizhong, deputy chief of the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

(Shanghai Daily April 29, 2008)

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