The first death from hand, foot and mouth disease in Shanghai has been confirmed by health officials of the city, thus casting doubts on claims that the epidemic had been contained.
A two-year-old boy surnamed Yu died Saturday at a local hospital after he was diagnosed as having acute hand, foot and mouth disease, the bureau said in a statement on its website.
The boy was from central Henan province but was living with his family in Shanghai, according to the statement posted Monday.
The city reported 10,340 cases of the highly contagious disease this year, with most sufferers being children under the age of six.
China has seen a rapid spread of the disease across vast distances since early May. It's presence in the capital Beijing just months before the Olympics in August prompted a national alert.
Forty-two children have died this year of the disease, which has infected about 176,000 people across the country.
Eastern Anhui province has been hit hardest, with more than 20 deaths occurring in Fuyang city, according to state media reports.
Shanghai is not on the health ministry's list of the regions worst-hit by the epidemic. State media reported earlier that the epidemic had been controlled in the city, citing local health authorities.
Shanghai officials have no record of anyone in the city dying of the disease since they began tracking it in 2005, state media reported.