Virus outbreak kills 81 children in Vietnam

HANOI - Hand, foot and mouth disease, adangerous intestinal virus, has killed 81 children in Vietnamthis year, prompting the prime minister to order ministries andagencies to redouble efforts to stop its spread.

The country recorded 32,588 cases of the disease this year,and the deaths happened in 17 provinces and municipalities,mostly in the southern region, a statement on the government'swebsite said late on Thursday.

Hand, foot and mouth disease is relatively common amongchildren, characterized by a fever, sores in the mouth andblistery rashes. There is no vaccine or cure, but patientsusually recover in a week without treatment. In severe cases,brain swelling can lead to paralysis or death.

The disease was a "large danger to the health and lives ofyoung children", Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung said in astatement. Yet attempts to prevent it were ineffective, he said.

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