The Yunnan Provincial Hygiene Department announced that as of noon on Monday, 113 cases of hand, foot and mouth disease (HFMD) had been diagnosed in Yunnan, apparently caused by intestinal virus Enterovirus 71 (EV71). The announcement comes one day after Kunming announced that all Kindergarten students would be checked for the disease.
59 of the reported cases, more than half of the provincial total, were diagnosed in Kunming. Other affected areas include Chuxiong (19 cases), Yuxi (13), Baoshan (12), Dali (5), Honghe (3) and Zhaotong and Lincang, which reported one case each. No deaths have been reported.
Although highly contagious among children, HFMD has a low fatality rate and is expected to be contained well before the Olympics. With SARS still in people's minds and the Olympics around the corner, the Chinese government has shown a greater degree of openness and transparency at both the central and local levels than with previous outbreaks.
As Jeremy Goldkorn at Danwei puts it:
"Despite foreign cable news reports screaming about a 'deadly' virus, the virus is treatable and not that deadly. On the other hand, Xinhua and CCTV have not shied away from reporting about the disease, a welcome change from the days of SARS in 2003, when a disease outbreak was treated as something to be ashamed of and covered up."
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