Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease Spreading Quickly in Beijing

April 16, 2009 10:24 pm Last Updated: April 21, 2009 9:48 am

On April 14, China’s Ministry of Health announced that 110,000 people have contracted hand, foot and mouth disease (HFMD) in China this year. The current death toll is at 50.

The vice chief of Beijing health Bureau Zhao Chunhui stated that over 100 new cases of HFMD are reported in Beijing every day, according to a report by Beijing Times on April 14. Zhao said Beijing had 1,937 cases of HMFD as of April 6, and 88 percent of the patients were children under five years of age.

Epidemic Expected to Peak in June

HFMD is spreading among Beijing children rapidly, and Zhao predicts that the epidemic will be serious from May to July, with the peak in June.

It was reported that the Public Health Bureau has requested for various medical establishments to extend their outpatient services to 24 hours a day until October 31. The clinics are not allowed to stop services without authorization.

Over 110,000 Infected Nationwide

According to China’s Ministry of Health, as of April 7, there have been 115,618 cases of HFMD and 50 deaths, with most being children under five years old. In addition, 773 persons are in critical conditions.

Authorities have acknowledged the seriousness of the epidemic in certain areas and predict the mortality rate to rise. Last year, officials reported over 10,000 cases of HFMD and 40 deaths. The statistics for the first four months of this year have already surpassed that of last year.

Ministry of Health spokesperson Deng Haihua indicated that cases of HFMD and deaths from HFMD are on the rise in China and 95 percent of the affected population are children under five. The disease outbreak is concentrated in the countryside, and 13 have died in Heze of Shandong Province. The intersection among Henan, Shandong, Anhui and Jiangsu is one of the most severely affected areas.

Contradictory Data Reported

According to BBC, the data reported by Ministry of Health on March 27 claimed that there were 41,846 cases of HFMD in China’s thirty provinces from January 1 to March 26. However, the newest data provided by Deng Haihua claimed that there were already 60,905 cases from in January and February alone. Authorities have not explained any reasons for the discrepancies.

Earlier, media had accused officials of concealing information about the epidemic in Heze, but Deng has not reported results of the investigation.

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