Last update 6/10/2011 11:10:00 AM (GMT+7)

Central province reports new type of virus causing hand, foot and mouth disease

VietNamNet Bridge – A new virus strain that has been blamed for increasing the number of cases of hand, foot and mouth disease this year has appeared in central Quang Tri Province.

Among 17 samples the province sent to Nha Trang City's Pasteur Institute for testing, four were confirmed positive with the virus that typically causes hand, foot and mouth disease while one tested positive for the new enterovirus 71 (EV71), according to the provincial Health Department.

Department director Pham Hong Phuong said the disease was usually caused by viruses in the Coxsackie family which are a common cause of illness, particularly among children in the spring and summer months. Typical symptoms include fever and a sore throat and tongue which disappear in 5-7 days with no complications.

"However EV71 could produce complications such as meningitis and heart failure, and eventually lead to death," he said.

The Ministry of Education and Training issued a circular yesterday, June 9, asking departments nation-wide to boost prevention and control of the disease. Under the circular, children suffering from the disease must be kept at home or medical centres for at least 10 days.

Schools must submit a report to the Health Department and close for seven days if two or more children are found to be suffering from the disease within a one week period.

"This was the first discovery of EV71 in this province or any other province in the central and Highlands region," he said.

Doctor Nguyen Tan Phu of Quaøng Ngai General Hospital said hand, foot and mouth disease had emerged in the province recently, so district level hospitals lacked the experience to offer proper medical treatment.

Phu also warned that it was very easy for the disease to spread, especially in pre-schools and kindergartens as the viruses were passed through the digestive system, excrement and saliva.

"Keeping children and their toys clean is essential," he said.

VietNamNet/Viet Nam News