The most common virus in Vietnam kills nearly 100 children as it sickens 42,000 others by the Hand, Foot, and Mouth disease. The World Health Organization (WHO) reports that three-quarters of them were 3 years-old or younger.
There are minimal Hand, Foot, and Mouth disease treatments available in Vietnam. The virus is contagious and spreads through direct contact with the mucus, saliva, or feces of an infected person. Similar to the West Nile Virus, it typically occurs in small epidemics in nursery schools or kindergartens, usually during the summer and autumn months.
The usual incubation period is three to seven days. The disease usually affects infants and children, and is quite common. This year’s outbreak is a sharp increase over previous years.
Since 2008, about 10,000 to 15,000 virus cases were reported per year, with about 20 to 30 children dying annually.
Vietnam’s health minister has already warned that cases might increase in coming months when preschools and kindergartens resume, according to the World Health Organization. No vaccine exists for treatment, but illness is typically mild and most children recover quickly.
It is uncommon in adults, but those with immune deficiencies are very susceptible. It is not to be confused with foot-and-mouth disease, also called hoof-and-mouth disease, which is a disease affecting young sheep, cattle, and swine, which is unrelated to the virus.