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3 Jun, 2008 16:31

Are Siberian kids dying from Chinese virus?

Authorities in Siberia now say an enterovirus was responsible for the death of two children, not food poisoning or meningitis as first suspected. Healthcare workers believe it could have spread from China t o the Siberian town of Abakan.

Up to 20 children have died in China from EV71 and Koksaki A16 viruses. It’s thought 25,000 people were initially infected.

In Siberia, the nursery group which the two dead kids attended has been placed under quarantine and five children who had close contact with them are being closely monitored.

The relationship between the enterovirus and the Chinese cases are now being checked by healthcare officials, Newsru.com reported.

Nevertheless, an enterovirus numbers over 100 varieties, and the researchers are yet to ascertain the concrete kind of virus that has attacked the youngsters. 

24 children from the same kindergarten in Abakan were taken to hospital with symptoms similiar to food poisoning.

A criminal case has been opened and the director of the kindergarten has been charged with negligence leading to a person's death.

But parents are demanding answers. They want to know why the nursery was not put under quarantine when the children were first rushed to hospital. There are also concerns that the other nursery groups remain open despite the fact 22 youngsters are still in hospital. 

Tatiana Bogomolova from the local education department said: “The parents are free to keep their children at home after they're examined until we know the results. All the quarantine measures ordered by the Sanitary Inspectors have been taken. Basically, the situation in our kindergarten is normal.”

Not all children in hospital have been given an exact diagnosis. Although many are said to have a respiratory infection, doctors say they suspect the deaths were caused by meningitis.