200,000 Chinese children suffer from hand-foot-mouth diseaseApril 27th, 2010 - 9:21 am ICT by IANS
Beijing, April 27 (IANS) Over 200,000 children in China have been infected by the hand-foot-mouth disease (HFMD) in 2010 and 94 of them have died from the illness so far this year.
Parents of affected children are, however, citing high costs as affecting their children’s treatment, and have called on authorities to step in and cover their medical bills.
It costs more than 10,000 yuan ($1,460) to treat just one person, and medical insurance covers just about 10 percent of the cost, while some medicines to treat the disease are not covered by insurance, the report by Oriental Outlook Weekly, a magazine published by Xinhua said Sunday.
HFMD is a syndrome caused by intestinal viruses. It usually affects infants and children below 10 years and is moderately contagious. It spreads through direct contact with mucus, saliva, or faeces of an infected person, and occurs usually during summer and autumn.
The disease is extremely uncommon in adults, as most adults have strong enough immune systems to defeat the virus.
Meanwhile, a villager - Xing Tuanjie - said he spent around 37,600 yuan ($5,503) for the treatment of his four-year-old daughter, and is worried that the bills will pile up, the report said.
Fatalities from the disease in China are rising every year. In 2009, 353 children died from the disease, up from 126 in 2008. The number of infections in 2009 was 1.15 million, representing an annual increase of 480,000, the report said.
Hospitals in Henan province have reported 24,001 infections and 12 deaths as of April 15.
A hospital in the Pingdingshan region is crowded, having admitted 569 HFMD cases till April 22, and had to send back some children home because of limited capacity even though their parents wanted to keep them in the facility.
Some of the children’s health became worse and some became disabled and died, the report said, adding that doctors were also being accused of making false diagnoses. A child with HFMD was sent home because a doctor thought the child only had an upper respiratory tract infection. The child later died.
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Tags: beijing, children in china, chinese children, direct contact, faeces, foot mouth disease, hand foot mouth, hand foot mouth disease, hfmd, immune systems, intestinal viruses, limited capacity, medical bills, medical insurance, medicines, mucus, saliva, villager, xinhua, yuan