Hand Foot And Mouth Disease

June 12, 2011 by staff 

Hand Foot And Mouth DiseaseHand Foot And Mouth Disease, Cases of hand, foot and mouth disease have increased over 90 percent in southern Vietnam, killing at least 20 children and infecting nearly 4,000, from the beginning of 2011, health officials said Thursday. No national statistics, but Nam Pham Thanh, director of Ho Chi Minh Department of Health, said the disease had killed 13 children in the city and infected more than 3,000 this year.

He said the number of patients in May quadrupled compared with the same period last year. On average, between 100 and 120 patients were hospitalized each day, many of them breathing with the aid of oxygen.

Health officials in the province of Dong Nai, near Ho Chi Minh City, also reported seven deaths and more than 700 children infected since January.

The disease is highly contagious among children, and 70 percent of patients are younger than 3 years, said Truong Huu Khanh of Pediatrics, Ho Chi Minh City Hospital. The mortality rate among those infected is less than 1 percent.

Symptoms include the appearance of small red blisters on the palms of the hands, feet and mouth as well as fever, nausea and loss of appetite.

“There is no vaccine against this virus, and the best way to prevent disease is to ensure hygienic food and beverages, and avoid contact with infected people,” said Khanh.

The virus is transmitted through saliva, blister fluid and faeces, but is rare among adults, whose immune systems are usually strong enough to fight. The disease is fatal in a small number of cases due to complications such as pulmonary hemorrhage and meningitis.

The Ministry of Health has asked local authorities to tackle the high number of deaths, but health workers said government officials had not provided enough information to help parents recognize the symptoms of the disease.

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