Background: An effective enterovirus 71 (EV71) vaccine is needed to control the annual outbreaks of hand, foot and mouth disease (HFMD) in China. Adequate epidemiologic data relating to HFMD are needed to make decisions about appropriate public health interventions and implementation of the new EV71 vaccine.
Methods: We analyzed the population-based epidemiologic characteristics, clinical outcome and laboratory investigation of the 2011 HFMD outbreak in children based on the citywide surveillance system in Shanghai.
Results: The incidence rate of HFMD was 25.8 per 1000 in children <10 years of age in Shanghai in 2011, ranging from 2.5 per 1000 in the age group 7 to 9.9 years to 48.4 per 1000 in the age group 3 to 3.9 years. Children 1 to 1.9 years were at the highest risk of developing severe complications and most susceptible to HFMD. Boys and migrant children had significantly increased risks of contracting HFMD and developing severe disease. More institutional clusters/outbreaks occurred in the winter peak months than in the summer peak months. Migrant young children played a central role in the spread of HFMD in the community. EV71 was identified in 39.7% of mild HFMD outpatients, 47.4% of hospitalized patients, 92.1% of severe inpatients with complications, 50% of outbreaks and 38.8% of clusters in institutions.
Conclusion: HFMD and EV71 infections have a significant health effect on Shanghai children.