December 3/Beijing, China/Asia Pulse-- China said that a total of 294,000 children had fallen ill from consuming dairy products tainted with the industrial chemical melamine, with 154 of them still in serious condition. In a statement on its website, the Health Ministry also indicated the number of dead may rise from the four previously announced, saying that six deaths since September 10 may be linked to the consumption of melamine-laced milk.

The Health Ministry's total number of children sickened amid this year's scandal has grown more than five-fold from the government's previous figure given in September of 53,000.

From the December 5, 2008, Prepared Foods e-Flash