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Death toll from HFMD outbreak rises to 34
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Health authorities in east China's Anhui Province on Friday confirmed two more children have died of hand-foot-mouth disease triggered by the lethal enterovirus 71, driving up the national death toll to 34 nationwide.

The newly added two deaths occurred in Bozhou, northwestern Anhui, and in Hefei, the provincial capital, said Gao Kaiyan, chief of Anhui Provincial Health Department. Gao did not provide further details about the two new deaths.

The contagious hand-foot-mouth disease (HFMD) has sickened 24,934 in China as of Thursday, according to Xinhua's tally based on confirmed death reports from provincial-level health bureaus.

Two doctors carry a seriously ill child to the ICU ward of Fuyang Second People's Hospital in Fuyang city, eastern China's Anhui Province on Wednesday, May 7, 2008. [Photo: Xinhua]

An eight-month girl died of the disease early Monday morning in Fanyu District of Guangzhou, capital of Guangdong Province, despite emergency medical treatment, the provincial health administration said late Thursday night.

The baby, a native of Central China's Henan Province, tested positive for enterovirus 71 (EV71) -- a virus that can cause a severe form of the disease.

So far, Guangdong has reported four deaths and a total of 7,103 infections in the outbreak of HFMD this year, including 34 cases of EV71 positive.

In Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, southwest China, a boy aged one and a half years old from the rural area of Liuzhou City died on Tuesday, the local health administration announced.

The child began to cough and caught a fever on Saturday. His parents did not send him to hospital until three days later when he went into a coma.

The latest victim brought the death toll in the epidemic to two in Guangxi, which updated its total infections to 636 as of Thursday, and 31 dead in the country.

Most of the patients were not infected by EV71, and the number of new infections has been decreasing over the past several days, said Dong Boqing, director with Guangxi's disease control and prevention center.

Only nine of the 74 samples sent by local health bureaus were confirmed EV71 positive, Dong cited test results as saying.

Another two children died of EV71, which caused them to develop HFMD, in the southernmost Hainan Province, a provincial health department official said on Thursday.

No further information about them has been available so far.

According to the latest figures from the provincial health department, 180 cases of HFMD were reported by Thursday, of which five were confirmed to be infected with EV71.

So far, EV71 is blamed for most of the deaths in the outbreak of the disease. Of all the victims in China, 22 were in Anhui Province.

(Xinhua News Agency May 9, 2008)

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