Xinhua says that a total of 12,164 Hand Foot and Mouth Disease (HFMD or 手足口病) cases have been reported so far this year. 26 fatalities have been recorded. Outbreaks have been recorded in twelve provinces and municipalities: Anhui, Jiangsu, Hunan, Hubei, Shaanxi, Henan, Hebei, Zhejiang, Guangdong, Jiangxi, Beijing and Chongqing.
Ten doctors and health officials have apparently been punished for mishandling the disease, says AFP citing a Xinhua report. In Anhui, one village doctor by the name of Wang Dongjun has been fined 4,080 yuan for injecting 17 children with immune globulin, charging 80 yuan for each injection and falsely claiming it would cure them.
While we’d like to think Chinese health officials have come along way since the days of SARS, Reuters says a few children died from HFMD as early as March and a delay in the outbreak has triggered criticism in the media. The WSJ cites a Hong Kong microbiology expert who says HFMD outbreaks are to be expected every year and are not as lethal as SARS or bird flu. Nevertheless, the increased scrutiny of Chinese health officials is to be welcomed.