Wed, Jun 05, 2013 - Page 3 News List

Enterovirus now in peak season, ‘cases increased’

By Alison Hsiao  /  Staff reporter

Enterovirus infections have entered their annual peak season, with an emergency caseload higher than the numbers recorded at the same time in the past seven years, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) said yesterday.

According to the disease control agency, the real-time outbreak and disease surveillance system (RODS) has been monitoring infections and found that in the 22nd week of the year last week, the proportion of emergency room visits attributed to enterovirus infections had reached 17.76 per million — a peak compared with the numbers in the same period since 2008.

However, CDC official Chuang Jen-hsiang (莊人祥) said he expects infections to reach a peak this week or next week.

He added that four cases of severe complication causing enterovirus infections have been reported as of the end of last month, which is far lower than the 67 cases reported at the same time last year.

CDC physician Philip Yi-chun Lo (羅一鈞) cautioned the public not to confuse enterovirus infections with gastroenteritis because of their names, which are both associated with the gastrointestinal tract.

While gastroenteritis is characterized by inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract and its typical symptoms include severe abdominal pain and diarrhea, “enterovirus infections are associated with the symptoms of fever, sore throat, rash and blisters, or even nail-shedding when it appears with Coxsackievirus A6,” Lo said.

“Enteroviruses are spread from person to person through respiratory secretions, excretion and direct contact with the infected,” he added.

Lo advised parents to teach children good personal hygiene and, if they become infected, to keep them away from other children to avoid spreading the virus.

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