Kindergarten closed in HFMD scare in central Vietnam

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A kindergarten in the north-central province of Quang Tri has closed soon after the start of the new school year earlier this month following an outbreak of hand, foot and mouth disease (HFMD).

Nguyen Thi Tuyet Nhung, vice principal of the Hai Hoa Commune Kindergarten in Hai Lang District, said Thursday the first infected student was noticed on September 3.

"Then many others fell sick."

The total number contracting the disease has since reached 15.

"We have to wait until the disease dies down to resume classes," she said.

Health authorities in Quang Tri Province have reported 840 cases this year, including 50 in September.

The disease starts with blisters on hands, feet, knees, and elbows, and mouth sores.

Countrywide, it has claimed the lives of 29 children this year -- and 169 last year -- from out of 110,000 infections.

There is no vaccine or treatment for the disease, which is caused by an enterovirus.

Health officials said in Vietnam HFMD is caused among others by the most virulent strain, EV-71, which has caused all the fatalities and most of the infections this year.

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