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At the Center for Tropical Diseases – National Children’s Hospital, since the beginning of the year, there have been more than 100 cases of children hospitalized due to hand, foot and mouth disease (HFMD), and from March 13-29, 2023 alone, there were 37 cases of hospitalization.

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Most cases are mild; however, there have been some severe HFMD cases with severe complications.

The Hanoi Department of Health said that so far, the city has recorded 248 cases of hand, foot and mouth disease  (while there were only 2 cases in the same period last year).

According to the Department of Preventive Medicine, Ministry of Health, in Vietnam, the number of infections tends to increase between March – May and from September to December.

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HFMD is typically a benign and self-limiting disease. Most common in young children, it presents as fever, oral lesions and rash on the hands, feet and buttocks. The oral lesions consist of rapidly-ulcerating vesicles on the buccal mucosa, tongue, palate and gums. The rash consists of papulovesicular lesions on the palms, fingers and soles, which generally persist for seven to 10 days, and maculopapular lesions on the buttocks.

Hand, foot, and mouth disease is caused by viruses that belong to the Enterovirus genus (group). This group of viruses includes polioviruses, coxsackieviruses, echoviruses, and enteroviruses.

  • Coxsackievirus A16 is the most common cause of hand, foot, and mouth disease in the United States, but other coxsackieviruses have been associated with the illness.
  • Enterovirus 71 has also been associated with hand, foot, and mouth disease and outbreaks of this disease.

EV-71 has been implicated in HFMD outbreaks in Southeast Asia over the several years. EV 71 is a non-polio enterovirus.

Complications associated with HFMD caused by the more pathogenic EV-71 strain include encephalitis, aseptic meningitis, acute flaccid paralysis, pulmonary edema or hemorrhage and myocarditis. Most deaths in HFMD occur as a result of pulmonary edema or hemorrhage.