Background: Severe outbreaks of enterovirus 71 (EV71) have been on the rise in the Western Pacific region, including in China since 2007. We describe features of pediatric patients admitted with severe disease EV71 to a tertiary care hospital during the 2010 ongoing outbreak in the Shanghai region.
Methods: The Shanghai EV71 outbreak was studied prospectively from January 2010 to December 2012. To be eligible, children had to be 1 month to <14 years of age, admitted with confirmed EV71 infection to Xinhua Hospital and have severe illness needing Pediatric Infectious Diseases Service care with symptoms/signs of high prolonged fever and/or very unwell general appearance and/or neurological findings but no underlying medical condition. Clinical, laboratory, treatment discharge and follow-up data were recorded and analyzed.
Results: Of 26, 829 children presenting with possible EV71 disease, 2.9% (767) were admitted, more from less developed areas than from Shanghai proper. Of these, 29.2% (224) had severe enough EV71 for study enrolment, 4 excluded for underlying disease. Of 220 enrolled, 40.5% (89) had neurological involvement, 10.5% (23) needed pediatric intensive care unit care and 3% (7) died. Factors associated with severe disease were young age, male gender, high white count, prolonged high fever, high glucose, high C-reactive protein and neurological findings. The majority with neurological involvement and all who died were from the countryside. Early intravenous gamma globulin intervention had better survival. No survivor had persistent sequelae 2 months after discharge.
Conclusions: This study confirms the morbidity for EV71 disease in China, especially for patients from the countryside versus Shanghai proper. The potential impact of public education, an EV71 vaccine, and the potential benefits versus harms of IVIG treatment are discussed.