Tue, Aug 16, 2011 - Page 2 News List

School season could be enterovirus season

Staff Writer, with CNA

Taipei health officials yesterday said another peak was expected in the enterovirus season later this year with the end of summer vacation and children returning to school.

The city’s Department of Health cited figures compiled by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) showing that 6.78 of every 1,000 emergency cases nationwide in the week of July 24 through July 30 reported enterovirus symptoms.

The department said the number rose to 7.48 in the city and that the situation was expected to get more serious once school starts because children will have more frequent contact with one another, increasing the chances of infection.

There was an earlier peak on July 25, when CDC official Chuang Jen-hsiang (莊人祥) said more patients than usual had been found to exhibit enterovirus symptoms.

Taipei health official Lin Kuo-ning (林國甯) said that as of the end of that week, 2,461 cases of enterovirus had been reported this year in the nation’s capital.

Lin said 162 schools or other educational institutes in the city had been forced to temporarily suspend classes because the number of infected students in each class exceeded the allowable limit.

Meanwhile, the department said schools that discover students with symptoms of the disease should report the cases to health officials within 48 hours.

As of yesterday, the CDC had confirmed three cases of severe enterovirus this year, one of which was fatal. All three had enterovirus 71, the most virulent strain of the disease.

Most cases so far have been the coxsackievirus, a less serious type of enterovirus, the CDC said.

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