A total of 106 high school students who participated in a religious workshop in Kaohsiung City were infected with A(H1N1) influenza, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) confirmed yesterday, making it the severest outbreak of swine flu that has occurred in the country so far.
All of the students have been treated with the anti-viral drug Tamiflu and none of them have developed any serious complications so far, CDC spokesman Lin Ting (林頂) said, adding that the CDC would continue to track their condition.
As the case coincides with the 2009 World Games being held in the port city, Kaohsiung’s health authorities have advised the students to avoid visiting the Games venues.
Lin said that after investigation and interviews with the students, none of them could be linked to the World Games.
“This is simply an independent case,” he said.
Lin said the outbreak struck part of a group of 214 senior high school students and churchgoers who were participating in a religious workshop that began on Monday and was supposed to run until today.
However, three participants from Pingtung, Kaohsiung and Taoyuan counties who checked in on July 16 began to exhibit symptoms of respiratory infection, Lin said.
Because the workshop was held at an air-conditioned building, the number of people exhibiting flu symptoms increased to 106 on Wednesday, Lin said, adding that among them, 25 were sent to a hospital.
Tests on the 12 patients with the most severe symptoms showed eight had the new form of flu, he said.
At the time, the CDC said that most of the other sick students were likely infected with the new strain, Lin said, adding that the workshop was dismissed early on Thursday.
There has only been one case of severe infection on record in Taiwan so far, and no deaths have been reported.