Wed, Feb 11, 2009 - Page 2 News List

Flu season not over, CDC warns

STILL SNEEZINGLast week, of the total number of people who visited emergency rooms more than 17 percent had symptoms of the flu, a slight drop over the previous week

By Shelley Huang  /  STAFF REPORTER

Many people catching the flu during the current peak season are suffering from second-time infections and should stay home to avoid infecting others, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) said yesterday.

Peak flu season began last week when many workers returned to work after the Lunar New Year holiday. Health officials warned that the number of flu infections could increase dramatically as a result of increased interaction in crowded public areas or offices.

The latest statistics released by the CDC showed that of the total number of people going to emergency rooms in the past week, 17.86 percent had flu-like symptoms, down from 26.74 percent the previous week. Despite the decrease, health officials said the flu season was not over yet and that people with flu symptoms should stay home.

“It is important to remain at home until your condition improves. Many flu patients go out when they are still sick, but because their immune system is still weak, they get infected again with other viruses and can become seriously ill,” CDC Deputy Director-General Chou Jih-haw (周志浩) said.

The CDC reported 15 critical flu cases, including three deaths, since the beginning of the flu season.

Influenza type A comprised the majority of the reported cases.

With many students returning to school this week, Chou urged parents whose children were ill to keep them at home to avoid spreading the virus. Face masks should be worn when outside as well as at home, Chou said.

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