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Death toll in China from HFMD reaches 40

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A 13-month-old boy has died of hand, foot and mouth disease on the way to hospital in Beijing, bringing the nationwide death toll to 40, Chinese media said on Wednesday.
BIJING, May 14 (RIA Novosti) - A 13-month-old boy has died of hand, foot and mouth disease on the way to hospital in Beijing, bringing the nationwide death toll to 40, Chinese media said on Wednesday.

According to figures released Friday around 25,000 children are reported to have been infected, the majority of them under two years old.

The disease has spread rapidly in China since March, when children below six began to be admitted to hospitals in the central Chinese province of Anhui displaying symptoms of the potentially fatal virus. The disease has been reported in almost all regions of the country.

China's health ministry said on Monday that the epidemic had been brought under control and the number of infections was reducing, mainly in the worst-hit central provinces. However, the disease is expected to reach its peak in June and July, shortly before the Beijing Olympics starts in August.

Enterovirus 71 and Coxsackievirus, major causative agents for hand, foot and mouth disease, are being blamed for the epidemic. Though the death rate from the enterovirus itself is quite low, it can cause a number of severe complications depending on the age of the patient, such as polio and meningitis.

Russia's health ministry has tightened health checks on people arriving in the country from China. Chinese authorities have pledged to notify Moscow if there is any danger of the virus spreading to Russia.

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