Children dying

 

The most recent death was reported in the coastal province of Zhejiang on Monday, although state media gave no other details.

 

The virus first appeared in the eastern state of Anhui where 22 children have died.

 

Three deaths occurred in the southern province of Guangdong.

 

'Olympics unaffected'

 

The World Health Organisation has said the outbreak poses no threat to China's hosting of the Olympic Games in August.

 

Hans Troedsson, the World Health Organisation's China representative, said: "I don't see it at all as a threat for the Olympics or any other event."

 

None the less, Chinese health officials have stepped-up efforts to contain the outbreak.

 

People have been told they must report any cases of the disease within 24 hours.

 

Hospitals have been inundated with patients, with corridors being used as wards.

 

The cause of the outbreak is not known.

 

Deadly virus

 

Enterovirus-71 (EV-71) can cause a severe form of hand, foot and mouth disease and has symptoms including fever, mouth sores and blisters.

 

It is easily spread by sneezing or coughing.

 

Enteroviruses are spread mostly through contact with infected blisters or faeces and can cause high fever, paralysis and swelling of the brain or its lining.

 

There are no vaccines or antiviral agents available to treat or prevent the virus, but health officials say simple hygiene steps can prevent it from spreading.