Hand, foot and mouth disease claims six lives

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Hand, foot and mouth disease (HFMD) has taken the lives of six children in Ho Chi Minh City hospitals so far this year, while only one died from the disease last year, according to the municipal Health Department.

The department on Wednesday released a warning that the number of children admitted to city-based hospitals for HFMD is rising, with many children having complications.

Nguyen Dac Tho, deputy director of the HCMC Health Center, said a total 1,200 HFMD cases have been recorded this year.

In April alone, 595 kids were admitted to hospital for HFMD treatment.

Most of the patients are below three years old, Tho added.

According to the Children's Hospital No.1, it receives more than 60 HFMD child patients a day and most of them come from neighboring provinces.

The Children's Hospital No.2 reported 10 percent of children have complications.

There are 300 more HFMD cases in the first four months of this year compared to the same period last year, the Health Department announced.

HFMD is a human syndrome caused by intestinal viruses of the Picornaviridae family. The most common strains causing HFMD are Coxsackie A virus and Enterovirus 71 (EV-71).

HFMD usually affects infants and children, and is quite common. It is moderately contagious and is spread through direct contact with the mucus, saliva, or feces of an infected person.

It typically occurs in small epidemics in nursery schools or kindergartens, usually during the summer and autumn months. The usual incubation period is 37 days.

Typical symtoms include a fever, sore throat, and a rash may appear on the hands, feet, mouth, tongue, and inside of the cheeks.

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