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Background. Hand, foot and mouth disease (HFMD) is spread widely across Asia, and the hospitalization burden is as yet not well understood. Here, we estimated serotype-specific and age-specific hospitalization rates of HFMD in Southern China. Methods. We enrolled pediatric patients admitted to 3/3 county-level hospitals and 3/23 township level hospitals in Anhua county, Hunan (CN) with HFMD, and collected samples to identify enterovirus serotypes by RT-PCRs between October 2013 and September 2016. The information of other eligible but un-enrolled patients were retrospectively collected from the same six hospitals. Monthly number of hospitalizations for all causes was collected from each of 23 township level hospitals to extrapolate hospitalizations associated with HFMD among these. Results. During the three years, an estimated 3,236 pediatric patients were hospitalized with lab-confirmed HFMD, and among these only one patient was severe. The mean hospitalization rates were 660 (95% CI: 638-684) per 100,000 person-years for lab-confirmed HFMD, with higher rates among CV-A16 and CV-A6 associated HFMD (213 vs 209 per 100,000 person-years), and lower among EV-A71, CV-A10 and other enteroviruses associated HFMD (134, 39 and 66 per 100,000 person-years, p<0.001). Children aged 12-23 months had the highest hospitalization rates (3,594/100,000 person-years), followed by those aged 24-35 months (1,828/100,000 person-years) and 6-11 months (1,572/100,000 person-years). Compared with other serotypes, CV-A6-associated hospitalizations were evident at younger ages. Conclusions. Our study indicates a substantial hospitalization burden associated with non-severe HFMD in a rural county in southern China. Future mitigation policies should take into account the disease burden identified, and optimize interventions for HFMD.

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