A young girl died from complications brought on by the contagious hand, foot and mouth disease (HFMD) that has been spreading throughout the country, the government's health and safety agency said Thursday.
The Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC) confirmed that a young girl, aged 2 years and 7 months and living in the Gyeongsang region of the country, died from a high fever, convulsions and loss of consciousness caused by a severe case of HFMD. This is the first fatality caused by the disease reported in South Korea this year.
HFMD is a common syndrome caused by intestinal viruses and usually affects infants and children, and is spread through direct contact with the mucus or saliva of an infected individual. In most cases it is not fatal, although some isolated cases involving death have been reported in the past.
It said the child also exhibited symptoms of encephalitis and meningitis when she was admitted to a local hospital last Saturday, but died on the same day after doctors were unable to stabilize her condition.
The KCDC said it had conducted tests on the deceased and found enterovirus 71, which can bring on HFMD.
Health authorities have issued numerous alerts asking parents to pay close attention to the personal hygiene of babies and small children. (Yonhap News)