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Hamaguchi et al. recently reported on the on the occurrence of enterovirus type 71 (EV71) subgenogroup C4 in Japan [1]. According to the authors, this strain may have emerged in mainland China and in Taiwan. EV71 subgenogroup C4 has recently gained public health interest following reports of an ongoing outbreak in China and Vietnam in 2008: In June 2008, more than 176,000 cases of hand, foot and mouth disease (HFMD) were reported in China alone, and at least 24 deaths have been attributed to EV71 [2,3]. In the largest and most severe EV71-associated HFMD outbreak in Taiwan in 1998, 405 children had severe neurological complications and/or pulmonary oedema; 78 children died [4].


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