Sat, May 09, 2009 - Page 2 News List

Taiwan spared swine flu, but must be vigilant: CDC

By Jimmy Chuang  /  STAFF REPORTER

Centers for Disease Control (CDC) spokesman Shih Wen-yi (施文儀) yesterday said that Taiwan may have been temporarily spared from swine flu, but experts were continuing to research and monitor the virus.

There is a fear that it may become stronger through a mutation and cause another outbreak in the northern flu season between October and January.

“We can take a break at the moment, even though we are still expecting the first confirmed case in the near future. The epidemic is slowing down, so there should not be an outbreak in Taiwan this time,” Shih told a daily press conference at the CDC yesterday afternoon.

“But we should not ease up on research of the virus. We should study all kinds of possible mutations it may go through,” Shih said.

He said that the virus was now spreading through the Southern Hemisphere, with Argentina joining the chain yesterday after its first swine flu case was confirmed.

“Whether the virus will become more vital is what concerns us,” Shih said.

Meanwhile, Academia Sinica and the CDC yesterday signed a contract for the development of vaccines and computer software to fight swine flu.

“We are capable of producing a vaccine. Of that, I am quite sure,” Academia Sinica president Wong Chi-huey (翁啟惠) said.

Department of Health Minister Yeh Ching-chuan (葉金川) said that epidemiologists were actually looking for faster ways of confirming the disease and more efficient ways to treat it.

“We are never satisfied. It takes six hours to confirm a case, but it is not fast enough for us,” Yeh said.

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