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Beijing confirms first virus deaths: report

by Staff Writers
Beijing (AFP) May 14, 2008
China on Wednesday confirmed the first two deaths in Beijing from hand, foot and mouth disease, bringing the national death toll to 42 children, state media reported, citing health officials.

One child from Beijing, host of this year's Olympics, died on Sunday, Xinhua news agency said citing city health department spokeswoman Deng Xiaohong.

Another child from Hebei also died in the capital after being transferred from the northern province for medical treatment, the report said.

The highly contagious disease, which is most dangerous to the young, has killed 42 children across China and infected nearly 25,000 people, the report said.

Most of the deaths have involved enterovirus 71, or EV71, which can lead to acute hand, foot and mouth disease and has been identified by China as a key factor in the severity of the outbreak.

Cases first emerged in large numbers in eastern China in early March but the problem was not made public until late April, prompting state press to accuse local officials of dragging their feet on raising the alarm.

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UN warns of 'second catastrophe' in Myanmar
Yangon (AFP) May 14, 2008
The United Nations warned Tuesday that Myanmar faced a "second catastrophe" after its devastating cyclone, unless the junta immediately allows massive air and sea deliveries of aid.

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