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Information about hand, foot and mouth disease in China

 

Editor's note: One Russian netizen named Sergei has written a letter inquiring about the status of hand, foot and mouth disease in China. In his letter, he says that he plans to travel in China this summer with his children; and their destinations include Beijing, Guangzhou, and some other cities. He wants to know the real status of the hand, foot and mouth epidemic in China.

Peak tourist season is approaching, and there are many people around the world like Sergei who hope that they can travel to China; but are concerned about the status of China's hand, foot and mouth disease epidemic. In response, we have interviewed Chen Zhihai, Medical Director of the Infectious Diseases Department in Ditan Hospital.

 

The epidemic will be effectively controlled

Chen said that the developing hand, foot and mouth epidemic will be effectively controlled. On the one hand, according to foot and mouth disease epidemiology, in August, there will be fewer cases of the disease. On the other hand, after disseminating information on hand, foot and mouth disease, we have enhanced public awareness of the prevention and control of it.

Foreign travelers to China should not be concerned

 

Foot and mouth disease will have a negative impact on foreign visitors in China, the expert said that foreigners who come to China do not have to worry at all. Hand, foot and mouth disease is a global disease; and can be found all over the world. The disease has a greater impact on infants and children under the age of three; and poses little threat to children over that age. Even if the latter were to be infected, typical symptoms of hand, foot and mouth disease would appear; but serious conditions such as pulmonary edema or encephalitis would not. Few adults have been infected; and often results in a hidden infection.


Issues to be aware of during your travel

 

Experts also remind foreign tourists to pay attention to the following circumstances during their trip: (1) infectious diarrhea: special attention needs to be paid to drinking clean water, eating fresh food, eating less raw or cold food, and avoid overeating. Observe the rules of sanitation and wash hands frequently; (2) respiratory diseases such as influenza: change clothes frequently and avoid contact with fever patients. If you make contact with fever patients with respiratory symptoms, wear a mask; (3) Mosquitoes: look out for arthropod insects such as mites and ticks and avoid travel to tropical climates to prevent insect-borne infectious diseases, such as scrub typhus, dengue fever, and Japanese encephalitis.

Here is more information for foreign readers about the hand, foot and mouth disease epidemic in some areas of China: official statements, advice from the experts, and other relevant background information.

Since March this year, Fuyang City in Anhui Province has been stricken by a large scale, hand, foot and mouth disease epidemic. By midnight on May 1, Fuyang in Anhui Province had reported 3,321 cases of hand, foot and mouth disease. The cases of this disease have increased in other parts of the country.


Official voices and views of experts:

 

China's Ministry of Health on May 3 issued “The hand, foot and mouth disease epidemic situation briefing on Fuyang, Anhui Province." In this briefing, the CPC Central Committee and leaders of the State Council attached great importance to the Anhui Fuyang hand, foot and mouth disease epidemic; had given important instructions on several occasions; and held a special meeting to decide how to deal with the epidemic. Local governments and the health departments at all levels treated patients, made efforts to control mortality, and achieved initial results. In view of the current outbreak, the Ministry of Health decided to list hand, foot and mouth disease into Group C Statutory Infectious Disease Management; and initiated a direct reporting network for epidemic information.

On May 7, the Ministry of Health and WHO jointly held a press conference. Ministry of Health spokesman Mao Qun'an reported on China's previous stage of major prevention and control measures. He said that China will further strengthen hand, foot and mouth disease monitoring and prevention and control; and this will not affect activities during the Beijing Olympic Games. He stressed that the current number of cases of hand, foot and mouth disease found in Beijing do not indicate growth as compared with the figure in previous years. No serious cases have been reported. Mao said that their team, including Beijing's and the nation's health sectors at all levels, will strengthen the monitoring and prevention and control of disease. Using these prevention and control measures, the epidemic will be effectively controlled.

In response to the marked increase in reported cases of hand, foot and mouth disease, Zhong Nanshan, well-known respiratory disease expert and academician at the Chinese Academy of Engineering, recently pointed out that hand, foot and mouth disease is a common infectious disease. Compared with previous years, there has been no unusual increase in China's hand, foot and mouth disease morbidity and mortality rates; and China is not experiencing an outbreak of hand, foot and mouth disease.

He said that some people in China hold the misconception that there is an obvious increase of the cases of hand, foot and mouth disease. One of the reasons is that the Ministry of Health listed hand, foot and mouth disease identified as a Class C infectious diseases on May 2; and therefore reported cases increased significantly. The second reason is that having experienced the SARS epidemic in 2003, the China's public awareness and vigilance of infectious disease have increased, coupled with the recent dissemination of hand-foot-mouth disease information, has led to the public's greater awareness of treatment. As a result, the number of cases in hospital statistics has increased.


Latest News

About hand-foot-mouth disease (HFMD)

 

Death toll from China viral outbreak rises to 32, 24,934 infected

Contagious hand-foot-mouth disease (HFMD) has left 32 children dead and sickened 24,934 in China as of Thursday, according to Xinhua's tally based on confirmed death reports from provincial-level health bureaus.

WHO endorses China's efforts to control hand-foot-mouth disease

The World Health Organization (WHO) representative to China, Hans Troedsson, on Wednesday endorsed China's measures to control hand, foot and mouth disease (HFMD), stressing that the measures were appropriate and positive.

WHO: Hand-foot-mouth disease not to affect Beijing Olympics

The recent outbreak hand-foot-mouth disease (HFMD) in China, which has killed 25 children till now, will not threaten the upcoming 29th Olympics Games in this summer, a representative from Beijing Bureau of the World Health Organization (WHO) said on May 4, 2008.

More news:

90 cases of hand-foot-mouth disease detected in Macao

Chinese official says viral outbreak won't affect Olympics


WHO pledges support for China in viral outbreak

 

What is the hand-foot-mouth disease (HFMD)?

The hand-foot-mouth disease (HFMD) is an infectious disease existed for many years, have occurred in the Eurasian countries and regions.

The HFMD is a common illness of infants and children and characterized by fever, sores in the mouth and a rash with blisters, most patients can be self-healing (recover without medical treatment). A small number of cases may occur meningitis, encephalitis, myocarditis and severe pneumonia, and the individual children's severe disease condition progress fast and high incidence of death. The youth children and adults are not infected with disease, but can spread the virus. Viruses from the group called enteroviruses cause HFMD. And the HFMD is themost common caused by enterovirus 71 or other enteroviruses, such as coxsackieviruses, echoviruses.

Some regions' epidemic situation:

By May 10, China had reported 25,000 hand-foot-mouth disease (HFMD) cases and 34 deaths.

Total HFMD cases in Anhui Province reached 7,988 on May 7. The status of the HFMD epidemic in Fuyang, Anhui province tends to be stable, where treatment has achieved tangible results, with significantly fewer new cases; no new deaths have been reported between May 2 and May 10; and the vast majority of serious cases have been treated successfully.

By May 7, Beijing had reported 2,221 hand-foot-mouth disease (HFMD) cases this year.

By May 10, Hainan Province had reported 486 hand-foot-mouth disease (HFMD) cases.

By May 11, Guangdong Province had reported 13,189 hand-foot-mouth disease (HFMD) cases; no new deaths; and six cases of deaths. 63 cases of EV71 HFMD have been reported.