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Common childhood illness rages across Asia

Source : AP
Last Updated: Thu, Jul 12, 2012 08:46 hrs

Tran Minh Giang has spent more than a third of his young life in a Hanoi hospital, and it could be many months more before he can go home. All for a disease that in Asia is as common as chicken pox, and usually about as severe.

The 20-month-old boy fell victim to a particularly menacing form of hand, foot and mouth disease that has killed hundreds of young children across the region. They suffer high fever, brain swelling, paralysis and respiratory shutdown.

When the strain hit Cambodia recently, doctors there had no idea what it was, and even now experts don't fully understand why it can be so devastating. Months after becoming sick, Giang still breathes using a ventilator connected to a hole in his tiny throat.

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