Tue, Dec 20, 2011 - Page 2 News List

CDC says enterovirus still poses a risk despite the peak season having passed

Staff Writer, with CNA

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) advised the public on Sunday to pay close attention to enterovirus outbreaks in Taiwan or during visits to Southeast Asia, China or Hong Kong, even though it is past the annual peak period for the disease.

Enterovirus outbreaks normally peak in May and June, but there is no sign that the disease has subsided in Taiwan, Vietnam, China or Hong Kong, the center said.

People should maintain proper hygienic habits and keep an eye their children’s health, particularly those under the age of three, the center said.

About 80,000 enterovirus cases have been reported in Vietnam alone this year, with 137 people, mostly children, having died of the EV-71 strain, the center said in a press release.

This year, about 90 percent of the enterovirus cases in Taiwan have been caused by the coxsackie virus, while 43 cases have been caused by EV-71, it said.

The EV-71 cases included three deaths, it added.

In Hong Kong, 234 cases of enterovirus have been reported this year, 68 of which were caused by the EV-71 virus, including one death, it said. In China, more than 1.51 million enterovirus cases and 470 resulting deaths have been reported, the center said.

Enterovirus is both a respiratory and gastrointestinal disease and is highly infectious, especially in kindergartens, elementary schools and homes, the center said. It urged parents with children under the age of three to take precautions against the disease when traveling in Southeast Asia.

People should wash their hands thoroughly and frequently, it said. In addition, children should be in an environment that is well ventilated and should not attend school if they are sick, the center said.

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