Mon, Jan 21, 2013 - Page 11 News List

Global flu pandemic has yet to affect Taiwan
全球流感發燒 台灣疫情三年新低點

A pharmacist injects a man with influenza vaccine as his assistant looks on at a pharmacy in New York City on Jan. 15.
一位藥劑師一月十五日在助理跟診之下,於紐約市一間藥房為一位男士施打流感疫苗。

Photo: AFP
照片:法新社

A global flu pandemic has broken out, with positive rates for influenza in Europe as high as 50 percent, 30 percent in the US and 20 percent in China. In Taiwan, however, data from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) shows that the number of people with the flu is the lowest it has been in three years, with only one in 100 people that are showing flu-like symptoms actually contracting the virus.

Influenza is not the same as the common cold. Flu symptoms include shortness of breath, dyspnea, cyanosis, bloody or purulent sputum, chest pain, altered states of consciousness, low blood pressure and a high fever persisting for more than 72 hours. A small outbreak of the H3N2 influenza strain occured in Taiwan in April last year, which reached its peak at the end of June and beginning of July.

Chuang Jen-hsiang, director of the Epidemic Intelligence Center at the CDC, says that heat and humidity help kill the influenza virus, so it does not usually wreak much havoc in the summer. For people who have contracted the virus in the summer, they will not get sick with the same strain the following winter. The CDC’s publicly funded vaccine jabs, offered beginning in October last year, have significantly reduced the number of flu cases over the past three months.

According to data from the CDC, only two out of 179 patients with flu-like symptoms actually had H3N2, a positive rate of 1.1 percent. Looking back at the positive rate during the same period over the past three years, which has been between 20 and 50 percent, the prevalence of influenza in the past three months is at a new low. From July last year up until last week, a total of 279 H3N2 cases had been confirmed, 25 of which were fatal. During the same period the year before, a total of 72 people died out of 680 confirmed cases. Chuang would like to remind people that although the number of people getting the flu is low right now, it might gradually increase over the next few months. The peak of the flu season this year is anticipated to occur during the Lunar New Year holiday.

TODAY’S WORDS 今日單字

1. pandemic n.

全國流行疾病;普遍疾病 (quan2 guo2 liu2 xing2 ji2 bing4; pu3 bian4 ji2 bing4)

例: The first cholera pandemic occurred in the early 19th century.

(霍亂首次大流行發生在十九世紀初期。)

2. humidity n.

潮濕 (chao2 shi1)

例: Extremely high humidity can cause electronic devices to malfunction.

(極度潮濕可以導致電器故障。)

3. havoc n.

大破壞;浩劫 (da4 po4 huai4; hao4 jie2)

例: Havoc caused by the storm was tremendous.

(暴風雨造成了巨大破壞。)


CDC Deputy-Director Chou Jih-haw says that an influenza outbreak can happen very quickly and no one can really predict when. Aside from getting vaccinated, he hopes that people will remember three easy preventative measures, which include washing your hands often, wearing medical masks and reducing time spent in public places.

(Liberty Times, Translated by Kyle Jeffcoat)

流感全球發燒,歐洲流感陽性率高達五成,美國三成,中國也有二成,不過疾病管制局資料顯示,台灣流感目前處於近三年新低點,每一百個有症狀的病人中,只有一個是流感。

流感和一般感冒不同,主要症狀包括呼吸短促、呼吸困難、發紺、血痰或濃痰、胸痛、意識改變、低血壓或高燒持續七十二小時以上。台灣去年四月即已有一小波的H3N2流行,並在六月底、七月初達到高峰。

疾管局防疫中心主任莊人祥表示,流感病毒怕熱又怕濕,夏天不會太過肆虐,但夏天感染過病毒的人,冬天就不會再感染同型病毒,加上去年十月疾管局即推動公費季節流感疫苗接種,所以過去三個月都在低點。

疾管局資料顯示,上週一百七十九位有流感症狀的病人中,只有二件確定是H3N2流感,病毒陽性率僅百分之一點一,綜觀過去三年同期陽性率橫跨二成到五成,過去三個月疫情處於新低。去年七月至上週為止,累計共兩百七十九名流感併發症確定病例,其中二十五人死亡,前一年度流感季同期共有六百八十名確定病例,其中七十二人死亡。莊人祥提醒,目前疫情雖然在低點,未來還是可能慢慢攀升,預估本季高峰將發生於農曆春節期間。

疾管局副局長周志浩強調,「流感爆發速度快,誰都說不準」,除了打疫苗,希望國人謹記「勤洗手、戴口罩、不要趴趴走」三句防疫要訣。

(自由時報記者邱宜君)

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