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Viral encephalitis outbreak contained in E China

06-03-2011 16:58 BJT

Beijing - An outbreak of viral encephalitis that has hospitalized more than 100 children in East China's Fujian province since early May is now under control, local heath authorities said on Thursday.

The scale of the epidemic was confirmed by Fujian provincial health department on Wednesday via an online notice that revealed a total of 192 cases were reported in Anxi, Dehua and Fu'an counties.

However, although no deaths or severe cases have been reported, the number of people infected is still rising.

Wu Jinzhun, director of the pediatrics department in Xiamen First Hospital, said they had received more than 20 cases since mid-April.

He said they had received similar cases in previous years, but not as many as this year and that the epidemic is expected to last until the summer vacation and could recur when schools reopen.

In Anxi county, 91 out of 120 clinical cases had been discharged from hospital by Thursday afternoon, while 29 children who are still receiving treatment are in stable condition, Wu Zhengxin, head of the local health bureau told Xinhua News Agency.

Nine-year-old Guo Qian-qian, who is fully healed after eight days' treatment, was the latest to be discharged from the Mingxuan Hospital in Anxi county. The girl is from Hutou village where the number of reported cases accounts for more than 60 percent of the county's total.

"The disease was first noticed in early May at the school, but no one was aware of what it was," said Guo's mother.

Another 52 cases were reported in Dehua county and 23 in Fu'an county. Twenty-three children from these two places are still in hospital.

All the infected children are younger than 12, Wu said.

Investigations by experts from the Ministry of Health and local disease control and prevention centers indicated the outbreak was caused by the ECHO30-type intestinal virus, according to Wu.

As there is no vaccine for the intestinal virus, prevention and timely treatment are crucial, said Li Xingwang, who heads the infectious diseases department of Beijing Ditan Hospital.

He said the virus can cause fevers, headaches and vomiting, but it is not life threatening. However, children with similar symptoms are advised to see a doctor.

The Fujian provincial government has ordered health authorities at all levels to closely monitor the disease to prevent it from spreading.

In another development, the Ministry of Health on Wednesday issued a notice about the ongoing E.coli bacterial outbreaks in European countries, which have so far killed 16 people and sickened more than 1,500.

Given that it is a food borne disease, the ministry asked people who will travel to the affected countries to practice good hygiene and avoid eating raw vegetables like tomato and cucumber.

China's General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine has ordered strengthened testing and surveillance of the bacteria among food imports from the Europe.

Editor:Wang Xiaomei |Source: China Daily

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