Sun, May 12, 2002 - Page 2 News List

Virus outbreak nears peak

CNA , TAIPEI

This year's enterovirus epidemic will peak next week, a Department of Health official predicted yesterday.

Chiang Ying-lung (江英隆), deputy director-general of the Center for Disease Control, said the epidemic, which broke out earlier than last year and is creeping up slowly, will reach its peak in a week.

"Judging by the data we have collected so far," Chiang said, "I would say the epidemic would peak next week."

Enteroviruses infect the human gastrointestinal tract and often spread to other areas of the body, especially the nervous system. The mortality rate among children is high.

So far 37 enteroviral cases have been identified this year. Seven of the victims, all children, succumbed to the infectious disease.

The disease assumed epidemic proportions for the first time in Taiwan in 1998, claiming 70 lives. The nation has since experienced an enterovirus epidemic each year.

People should wash their hands often and refrain from drinking untreated water to minimize the risk of contracting the highly infectious disease, Chiang said.

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