Image credit: @goulao.
Two children at a Jinshan district health care center died from hand, foot and mouth disease, a highly contagious viral illness that usually affects infants and children younger than five. The center had been blacklisted over hygiene issues, according to Shanghai Daily.
Two-year-old Deng Haoxuan died from the infection on Tuesday, the Jinshan District Health and Family Planning commission announced. He was the son of the Aimiao Care Center’s head.
Two days later, a four-year-old named Zhao Hongyun also died from the disease.
Care centers like this are kindergarten-type facilities usually used by children of migrant workers. The Aimiao center had been on a local education blacklist for having no routine disinfection program and no health license, according to the Daily. The center has now been shut down for total disinfection.
All 158 children attending the center have been screened and some hospitalized, and the children in close contact with the deceased are under observation, according to the commission.
Hand, foot and mouth disease is one o the most common and widespread infectious diseases in China, according to data reported at the Fred Hutchison Health Research Center. Infection rates in the country have mounted each year since 2007, and the peak season in Shanghai is from April to July.
The infected may experience cold-like symptoms and red rashes that develop on the hands and feet. While most cases are mild and treatable, it can in some cases affect the nervous system, respiratory system and circulation.
In October of last year, over 4,200 cases of the disease had been reported in Hong Kong, more than the total number of cases of the two previous years combined. The cases had even begun showing up in adults, which is rare.
Chinese University pediatrics professor Ellis Hon Kum-lun said that the virus was mainly being transmitted through the touching of infected people’s salvia or feces.