Mar 23, (Xinhua) - The number of children sickened by lead poisoning rose to 45 Monday in Chenzhou City of central China's Hunan Province, health officials said.
The cases were confirmed between Wednesday last week and Monday at the Chenzhou Municipal Hospital of Traditional Chinese Medicine (HTCM) and the Children's Hospital.
The children were under the age of 14. Most of them were from Haotang Town of Guiyang County, said a statement from the public health bureau of Chenzhou.
Twenty-eight children were being treated at the HTCM while another 17 with slight syndromes were brought back home for treatment under doctors' instructions.
Most of the patients were in stable condition. But there could be more reports of sickened children in the following days, said Liu Jianrong, deputy head of the hospital.
The cases emerged about 10 months after 254 children were found with excessive levels of lead in their blood in Jiahe County of Chenzhou in July last year.
A local factory held accountable for discharging contamination, which caused the poisoning, was closed.
Excessive amounts of lead in the body can harm the nervous and reproductive systems and cause high blood pressure and anemia. In severe cases, it can lead to convulsions, coma and even death.