Sat, Aug 04, 2007 - Page 2 News List

E71's first victim still struggling in intensive care unit

STAFF WRITER , WITH CNA

A 15-month-old infant, confirmed to be the first severe enterovirus type 71 (E71) case this year in the country, is still struggling in a pediatric intensive care unit in Hsinchu County, the Department of Health said yesterday.

Chou Chih-hao (周志浩), deputy director-general of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), said that the infant was admitted to the Hsinchu hospital in the middle of last month after developing hand-foot-mouth disease symptoms, including high fever, vomiting, decreased energy and loss of appetite.

The infant's condition worsened after being admitted to hospital, with the infant developing fast breathing, rapid heart beat and spasms, then dysfunction of the heart and lungs, before eventually falling into a coma, Chou said.

The infant remains in a coma, Chou said.

Severe E71 -- the deadliest type of all enterovirus infections -- ravaged Taiwan in the summer of 1998, infecting 405 children and killing 78.

An outbreak of E71 in 2005 affected 145 children, with 15 perishing, CDC figures showed.

None of the family members of the infant, including the grandparents, parents and siblings, who all live together, have been found to be infected with the virus, Chou said.

Chou said that although the peak season for enterovirus infections is nearly over this year, the public, especially children, should maintain good personal hygiene and wash their hands often to avoid being infected.

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