Chinese Health Minister Spokesman Mao Qun'an

Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease Flourishes in China

May 08, 2008 08:00 AM
by findingDulcinea Staff
As more cases of hand, foot and mouth disease are reported across China, officials there say the outbreak won’t affect this summer’s Olympics.

30-Second Summary

A common virus in China has killed 28 children and infected nearly 16,000 others, but the health ministry says the “incidence nationwide has not increased so far compared with last year,” according to the news agency Xinhua.

More cases are expected in June and July, health ministry spokesman Mao Qun’an said at a press conference this week. The Olympics are scheduled to start in August in Beijing, where one of the outbreaks was been reported. The hardest hit town so far is Fuyang in Eastern China, where 22 children have died.

The World Health Organization’s (WHO) representative in China, Hans Troedsson, says the disease shouldn’t threaten the Olympics.

Chinese officials say this outbreak won’t be like severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) six years ago. That respiratory illness, which had never been seen before, spread around the world and caused nearly 1,000 deaths before being contained. The Chinese government was accused of keeping quiet and allowing SARS to spread.

But the Guardian reports that some parents don’t feel they’ve been told everything. The newspaper quotes one unnamed Beijing mother as saying, “We know about this virus, but we don’t know clearly how to protect ourselves. The information hasn’t been thorough enough.”

Hand, foot and mouth disease is not related to foot and mouth disease, a virus that affects livestock and caused a huge epidemic in England several years ago.

Headline Links: ‘China expects higher incidence of viral disease through July’

Reactions: Olympic threat?

Opinion & Analysis: People should be nervous; transparency needed

Reference: Hand, foot and mouth disease; China’s response

Context: SARS


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