I’m taking a quick hiatus from my hiatus. I mentioned that I had quite a bit of travel upcoming, and I happen to be in the midst of my first trip. However, it just so happens that where I’ve landed–Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia–is experiencing an outbreak of hand, foot, and mouth disease in kids, caused by Enterovirus-71. More after the jump…
You may have read about this virus in prior weeks, as China has been dealing with a major outbreak there:
The number of hand-foot-mouth disease (HFMD) cases reported in China this year rocketed to 15,799 as of Tuesday, resulting in 26 deaths, according to a Xinhua tally of local official figures. The figure stood at 11,905 on Monday, Xinhua found.
So far, EV71 is blamed for most of the deaths in the outbreak of the disease.
EV71 can cause hand, foot and mouth disease, which usually starts with a slight fever followed by blisters and ulcers in the mouth and rashes on the hands and feet.
The English-language Mongolian paper hasn’t updated its website for awhile, but they have a print story on the outbreak in Ulaanbataar:
In Mongolia, the first person who had been infected with Enterovirus-71 was registered on May 8, 2008, and the number of persons infected with this virus has escalated to 346 by May 13.
In connection with this situation, 1-5th grade pupils of all private and State secondary schools and under age children at kindergartens where Enterovirus-71 has been revealed, were placed under quarantine on May 12 for an unspecified period.
…Moreover, the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) has issued its decisions to take following action: to create a condition whereby all people entering through Border 8 checkpoints…will be required to undergo medical examinations…as well as to ban the organizing of public activities among people during this quarantine period.
Schools were closed today, and despite the language regarding public activities, it seems to be pretty bustling around here–athough several Ministry of Health and other health officials had to duck out of our conference early to work on the outbreak. No deaths that I’ve heard of here thus far. Will the measures they’ve put in place be enough to stem the spread of the virus?