The virus which has killed 22 children in Anhui province has spread to Guangdong as two infants who died in Foshan were confirmed positive for enterovirus 71. Infections from the deadly intestinal virus, EV71, increased to nearly 5,000, Xinhua reported yesterday. The Ministry of Health established a taskforce to treat and prevent the spread of hand, foot and mouth disease, which enterovirus 71 can cause. It asked all health authorities to fight this epidemic with the same effort they put into fighting the deadly Sars outbreak. In Anhui alone, a further 766 children were reported to have caught EV71, taking the total number of infections in the province to 4,529. Among these, 415 were in Fuyang - the centre of the outbreak. The ministry issued a second nationwide alert warning the number of infections would rise in the coming days. The ministry has informed the World Health Organisation and health authorities in Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan. An 18-month-old boy in Foshan who died on Friday was confirmed to have been suffering from EV71, a statement by the Guangdong health department said. Foshan is about 230km from Hong Kong. The boy's parents took him to a Goaming district hospital last Sunday after he developed rashes and a fever. The department said that after testing by the provincial centre of disease prevention and control, the boy was found to have died from the disease caused by enterovirus 71. Another Foshan infant, a 20-month-old boy who died on April 25 from the disease, was also confirmed to have been suffering from EV71. Authorities had denied he was infected with EV71. The disease can be caused by EV71, among other viruses. The symptoms, which usually appear three to seven days after infection, begin with a fever and progress to mouth sores and a rash with blisters. The department said further tests were being done to confirm the cause of the boy's death. This is the first time Guangdong has reported a suspected case of EV71 after the mass outbreak in Fuyang, Anhui, in early March. Forty-five experts from the health ministry, Hubei , Shanghai and Shandong have been summoned to Fuyang to help control the outbreak, the department said. Hubei authorities announced it recorded 382 cases of the disease this year, including 40 in three kindergartens which were caused by EV71. Five cases of EV71 were reported in Hangzhou , Zhejiang province , while 16 children were infected in Henan province , an earlier Xinhua report said. The ministry had warned that cases were more numerous this year than in recent years, and that the peak period for transmission would likely come next month and in July. It also estimated further critical or even fatal cases would occur. Health authorities have to report cases within 24 hours. Officials will visit nurseries and primary schools to educate staff on hygiene and prevention steps. The ministry said there had been more cases in Taiwan and Singapore this year than last year.