Every year from April to June, Beijing experiences its annual outbreak of Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease (HFMD).
According to The Beijing News, Beijing is witnessing more HFMD cases this year. Statistics from the Beijing Center for Diseases Prevention and Control indicated that there have already been 448 cases by April 8.
HFMD is a common illness that occurs mainly in children under 10 years old. It usually begins with a mild fever, poor appetite, and a sore throat. Painful sores will develop in the mouth after one or two days, and a rash with small red blisters, which often become ulcers afterward.
Though there have been infrequent reports of death from HFMD, it’s usually not a serious illness. Nearly all patients recover within one week to 10 days with medical treatment.
There are two main causes of HFMD: an infection caused by the coxsackievirus, and another infection caused by the enterovirus (EV) 71, with the latter being more severe and accounting for nearly 30 percent of cases annually.
Beijing-based pharmaceutical company Sinovac Biotech has developed a vaccine to protect against EV71, but it only works for children aged 6 months to 5 years. There are 533 qualified vaccination centers in Beijing and you can see the list here.
There are several suggestions provided by CDC to lower the risk of being infected. These include washing your hands often with soap and water, and cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched surfaces and soiled items, including toys.
Also, try to avoid close contact such as kissing, hugging, or sharing eating utensils or cups with people with HFMD because it is contagious.