The number of influenza A(H1N1) infections in the nation might peak in the middle of next month, as the virus is likely to make a comeback this winter, a pediatrician warned.
Using the medical history of the country over the past five years as evidence, Huang Li-min (黃立民), a pediatrician at National Taiwan University Hospital, said on Tuesday strains that cause major flu outbreaks tend to stay for two consecutive years.
He forecast that the A(H1N1) onslaught would recur this year, since most of the people who contracted the disease or were inoculated against the virus last year would not have enough antibodies or immunity strong enough to combat a new attack.
The number of cases of A(H1N1) and influenza B infections have been rising over the past week and the two types of viruses are expected to be the mainstay of flu infections in the country by the middle of next year, Huang estimated.
The nation was one of the countries hit by the H1N1 flu virus last year. More than 800 people in Taiwan were hospitalized with H1N1 symptoms, 35 of whom died.
Meanwhile, according to Centers for Disease Control Deputy Director-General Shih Wen-yi (施文儀), 11.33 percent of the people who checked into emergency rooms throughout the country over the past week were admitted because of flu infections and 1.27 percent of outpatients in the same period were flu patients. Of these patients, 60 percent were infected with A(H1NI) and 30 percent had influenza B.
The nation also reported one more influenza death last week, he said. The case was a 62-year-old man from China who had never been inoculated and who came down with flu symptoms after arriving for a sightseeing trip. The man died the next day after checking into a local hospital. He tested positive for A(H1N1), Shih said.