2008-05-08 08:16:35 Xinhua English
BEIJING, May 8 (Xinhua) -- China has reported 22,240 hand-foot-mouth disease (HFMD) cases so far this year by Thursday, resulting in 30 deaths, according to a Xinhua tally of local official figures.
The figure stood at 19,962 on Wednesday, Xinhua found.
Anhui Province in east China saw an increase of 738 HFMD cases on Tuesday, driving the total infections up to 7,283, with no new death report in the past week, according to the provincial health bureau.
A total of 3,780 patients have recovered and 2,218 others are still receiving treatment in hospitals there.
The worst-hit Fuyang City has registered 5,513 infections so far, including 1,340 being hospitalized. Doctors said ten of the patients are seriously sickened and three others in critical situation.
The municipal government has earmarked nearly 50 million yuan (7.1 million U.S. dollars) in medical cost reimbursement and disease prevention and control.
Meanwhile, a virus lab has been put into initial operation in the city recently for research of EV71, a virus that can cause a severe form of the disease, according to the municipal center for disease control and prevention.
"Under the instruction of the Ministry of Health, our main research includes separating and testing virus and diagnosing patients by molecular biology and serology", said Li Dexin, an official with the China Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
In the past, most of the research was conducted in Beijing and Hefei, the provincial capital. The new lab will make local virus tests possible and help control the epidemic in the city, which has seen 22 deaths, Li said.
There is no vaccine and experts are still trying to find out effective treatment, but most children suffering from mild forms of the disease could recover.
Local experts suggest traditional Chinese medicine for disease prevention and control, saying it would be of great help.
The provincial health authority has issued a draft plan recently, proposing some preventive measures including a recipe involving a number of Chinese herbs that must be used continuously for at least 7 days.
Shandong Province reported 1,440 HFMD cases on Thursday. The southernmost Hainan Province updated the number of infections to 180 and the northwestern Qinghai Province updated the number to 10on Thursday.
The Shandong health authority asked the grassroots hospitals to immediately shift children with fever under five years old to bigger hospitals for better treatment.
So far, EV71 is blamed for most of the 30 deaths in the outbreak of the disease. Of all the victims, 22 were in Anhui, three in Guangdong and two in Hainan, with the rest in Zhejiang, Guangxi, and Hunan, respectively.