HFMD kills another baby in southern Vietnam

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The preventive health center of the southern province of Binh Phuoc on Tuesday confirmed that a baby had died of the hand, foot and mouth disease to become the province's second casualty since early this year.

Doctor To Duc Sinh, director of the center, said Nguyen Le Truc Phuong died June 29, three days after falling ill. She was the country's eighth victim of the disease this year.

The two-year-old girl had received treatment at home and was only rushed to hospital after she suffered constant fever and mouth sores.

Sinh said cases of the disease have increased in the province recently, with an average of more than 30 per week.

He said 387 infections have been reported so far this year, up nearly 20 percent year on year.

Nguyen Van Soi, a five-year-old boy in the province, also died from the disease on January 4.

A May report by the Ho Chi Minh City Hospital for Tropical Diseases said there had been seven deaths from the disease since the beginning of the year, down 70.8 percent year on year.

Health reports in March showed that the disease had spread to 60 out of 63 cities and provinces across Vietnam, even though it had not entered its typical April-May peak.

More than 110,000 children nationwide contracted the disease last year, including 41 fatal cases in 15 cities and provinces. It claimed 169 lives in 2011, out of roughly the same number of infections.

No vaccination is currently available for the disease, which causes hand and feet blisters and mouth sores. Patients are supported with respirators and blood dialysis to boost recovery.

Infections occur most commonly in children under five years old, and many of the fatalities were caused by EV71, the most virulent strain of the Entovirus, which is also the most common in Vietnam, and can prove fatal within 24 hours of falling sick.

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