The Department of Health’s Food and Drug Administration (FDA) confirmed yesterday that the cases of alleged food poisoning at schools in Greater Kaohsiung reported last week were the result of a cluster of norovirus infections.
Earlier this month, two clusters of norovirus infections broke out in two elementary schools in Greater Kaohsiung, causing some classes to be suspended. On Friday last week, more cases of alleged collective food poisoning, influenza or norovirus infections were reported in elementary schools in Greater Kaohsiung, resulting in dozens of students being sent to hospital.
The FDA said the health department has already sent teams to the schools to disinfect school kitchens and has instructed school personnel and students on how to maintain personal and environmental hygiene — the most important measure in preventing the spread of the norovirus.
According to the agency, the peak season for the norovirus is between November and March, and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) statistics show that most of the recent cluster of diarrhea outbreaks were caused by norovirus infections.
On Tuesday last week, CDC released its latest report on diarrhea, showing the number of cases reported at emergency rooms in the past four weeks surpassed the number of cases during the same period last year by two to three times.
A total of 57 cases of cluster norovirus infections have occurred since September, of which 24 occurred at schools and preschools, 16 at care centers and other highly populated facilities and 15 at hospitals, the CDC said, adding that with the peak season of norovirus and other gastroenteritis illnesses approaching, the general public should pay more attention to personal hygiene while the food industry, hospitals, schools and other care facilities should strengthen sanitary control measures.
The highly contagious norovirus can be transmitted directly from person to person and indirectly via contaminated water and food, the FDA said, adding that the main symptoms include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal cramps or stomach pain, and may also lead to fever, fatigue, headache and muscle aches.
The FDA suggested precautionary measures to prevent the spread of the virus, such as frequently washing hands with soap, washing fruits and vegetable more thoroughly, avoiding eating raw food, keeping good household hygiene and feeding infants with breast milk to strengthen their immune system.
FATAL FIRE: The health department is trying to contact the inspector who visited the site of the illegal nursing home to ask why they did not advise follow-up checks The Taipei City Government yesterday said that a health department inspector last year had visited the site of a long-term care facility in Neihu District (內湖) after receiving a report questioning its status. A fire broke out at the facility on Tuesday afternoon, killing three people. The Taipei Fire Department said that it received a report about a fire on the first floor of a four-story residential building on Kangning Road Sec. 1 at 2:38pm on Tuesday, firefighters arrived at 2:43pm and the fire was put out by 3:07pm. The firefighters found three men in beds and rushed them to hospital for
Taipei City Councilor Wang Hao (王浩) of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) on Monday called for security improvements to the MRT, as fare evasion has increased more than 13-fold on the metropolitan railway system over the past five years. Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) has spoken out against fare evasion and other contraventions of MRT regulations, but since he took office in 2015 the number of contraventions has more than doubled, Wang said, adding that there were 537 cases in 2015 compared with 959 last year. A video was posted to YouTube in June showing people how to evade paying a fare,
FEELING MISUNDERSTOOD: Media speculation has fueled confusion about the KMT’s reasons for skipping a Chinese forum and delaying an AIT meeting, party sources said The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) on Sunday said that it is not seeking to improve relations with the US or China at the expense of the other, and that its relations with the countries would be topic-based. The party has faced questions over its foreign policy after it on Monday last week announced its withdrawal from the annual Straits Forum and delayed planned talks with the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT). The party has also taken a tough stance on the importation of US meat containing ractopamine, while also lambasting China for increasing its military activity in and around the Taiwan Strait. Following
Yuchi Township (魚池) fishers have appealed to the Nantou County Government for help in dealing with an invasive fish species in Sun Moon Lake (日月潭), where it has devastated the local ecosystem. Fishers at Sun Moon Lake have been using electrofishing in an attempt to eliminate the giant snakehead fish — found in Africa and Southeast Asia — but they have struggled to keep up with the growing population of the species, which breeds during September and October, the county government said on Monday. The county has contacted researchers at National Tsing Hua University, saying it hoped they could come up