The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) yesterday said that it remains to be seen whether a recent measles cluster infection at a duty-free shop in northern Taiwan could spread further after one of the infected individuals was found to have visited a nightclub while the disease was still contagious.
“In addition to the four duty-free shop employees who were diagnosed with measles over the past two weeks, on Monday we confirmed three more infections among employees at the shop,” CDC Deputy Director-General Chou Jih-haw (周志浩) told a news conference in Taipei.
Among them was a 24-year-old woman who went to the Myst nightclub in the ATT 4 Fun shopping mall in Taipei’s Xinyi District (信義) on May 13, which was during the time she was considered infectious from May 11 to May 19, Chou said.
To prevent further outbreaks of the disease, the Taipei City Government’s Department of Health has arranged for the three to be vaccinated for measles, mumps and rubella, Chou said.
He added that the CDC has been in touch with 1,452 of the 1,668 people who had contact with the seven infected duty-free shop employees, all of whom were asked to monitor their health until June 11.
CDC physician Philip Yi-chun Lo (羅一鈞) said recent research has shown a decline in the level of measles antibodies in Taiwanese aged 34 or younger, while the ages of the seven infected workers ranged from 22 to 31.
Measles can be transmitted by airborne droplets seven days before and after symptoms develop. It has an incubation period of 14 to 21 days.
According to CDC statistics, a total of nine measles cases have been confirmed this year — eight local cases and one originating in China.
Meanwhile, the CDC also urged people planning to visit countries in the Middle East to refrain from going to poorly ventilated places and having contact with camels, as South Korea confirmed a fourth case of Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) yesterday.
“Given that the number of tourists to the Middle East might increase in the run-up to the holy month of Ramadan from June 17 to July 17, people are also advised to consult with the nation’s 26 travel advisory clinics two to four weeks before departure,” the CDC said.
MERS, which has been compared to SARS, which erupted in Asia in 2003, has an incubation period of between two and 14 days, with common symptoms including fever, coughing, breathing difficulty and shortness of breath.
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