Deadly Virus Hits Kids in China

EV71 claims at least 21 lives, mostly young children
By Jason Farago,  Newser Staff
Posted May 2, 2008 8:57 AM CDT
A child infected with a type of intestinal virus, identified as enterovirus 71 or EV71, receives medical treatment at a hospital in Fuyang, in China's Anhui province, Tuesday April 29, 2008.    (AP Photo/EyePress)
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(Newser) – Almost 3,000 children living in the eastern Chinese province of Anhui have been infected with a deadly intestinal virus. At least 21 children have died of Enterovirus 71, a highly contagious malady whose cause remains unknown, reports state-run media. Most of the victims have been children under the age of 6, reports the BBC.

Although this is not the first outbreak of Enterovirus 71, the World Health Organization has said it is particularly concerned by the number of deaths this time around. The virus emerged in late March but was reported only last week, leading to charges of a cover-up by Chinese authorities. Beijing has been sensitive to criticism of reporting infectious diseases since its botched handling of the SARS outbreak in 2003.