Hanoi: Vietnam says a large ongoing outbreak of a common childhood virus could worsen this year.
The hand, foot and mouth virus has sickened more than 6,000 and killed nine children since January. They died from the strain EV-71, a more virulent enterovirus.
The Health Ministry said this year`s infection rate is seven times higher than it was during the first six weeks of 2011. But it has slowed since a September peak of 3,000 cases per week.
State media reported the health officials` comments Tuesday.
Last year, the disease sickened more than 110,000 and killed 166, mostly children.
The common disease typically causes little more than a fever and rash. No vaccine exists.