The year’s influenza epidemic escalated over the Lunar New Year holiday, as three times more people than normally visited hospitals and outpatient clinics with flu-like symptoms. The number of patients visiting outpatient clinics with the flu soared as people returned to work on Thursday last week. Changhua County Public Health Bureau Director-General Yeh Yen-po says that the flu season has not yet reached its peak this year. Practicing ear, nose and throat doctor and Association of Changhua County Clinics secretary-general Lien Che-chen expects the flu season to peak this week as children return to school after the holidays and says that people should be vigilant and take all of the necessary precautions.
Changhua Christian Hospital and Show Chwan Memorial Hospital say that 20 percent of emergency visits during the Spring Festival holiday had flu-like symptoms — three times the number of visits prior to the Lunar New Year. Throngs of sick people swarmed medical clinics last Thursday as they reopened for business, with more than half for the flu.
Lien says that this current wave of the flu is a result of two influenza A strains and one B strain triggering upper respiratory infections, high fevers, bodily aches, coughing and sore throats. Although the flu was already quite prevalent toward the middle of last month, the huge flow of people traveling over the Lunar New Year holiday kept the epidemic situation from subsiding. Junior high and elementary school students being in close proximity again as they returned to school yesterday will probably bring about the peak of the flu season, Lien says.
Yeh also says that the flu started growing more prevalent in the middle of last month, adding that the incidence rate had climbed to 18 percent two weeks ago, meaning that 18 of every 100 patients had flu-like symptoms. Compared with the overwhelming influenza incidence rate of 22 percent two years ago, Yeh estimates that this year’s flu season has yet to reach its climax, adding that the peak will probably last for at least a week. The incidence rate will probably surpass the 20 percent mark in the next few days and once the peak is reached it will gradually recede, he says.
1. escalate v.
逐步上升 (zhu2 bu4 shang4 sheng1)
例: Violent protests in the Ukraine are escalating.
2. trigger v.
引發 (yin3 fa1)
例: What triggered his sudden outburst?
3. accurate adj.
準確的 (zhun3 que4 de5)
例: These statistics are obviously not accurate.
Since projections for the A strains of influenza this year were accurate, it allowed the vaccines to be highly effective in alleviating flu symptoms, Yeh says. More than 4,000 government-funded flu jabs are still available. Those who qualify and people with low immunity levels, such as seniors or young children, can acquire this extra source of antibiotic protection by visiting contracted hospitals or clinics to get the free inoculation.
Aside from preventing the flu by getting vaccinated, Yeh also says that you should stay away from public areas as much as possible, wear masks when going out, frequently wash your hands and get more rest than usual.
(Liberty Times, Translated by Kyle Jeffcoat)