The number of reported cases of diarrhea reached an annual high last week with more than 143,000 outpatient and emergency room visits, including 21 clusters of cases, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) said yesterday, urging people to practice good personal hygiene.
CDC Deputy Director-General Philip Lo (羅一鈞) said among the 21 clusters of cases affecting 147 people reported last week, 15, or 71 percent, were reported at schools, while eight of nine cluster cases examined were caused by a norovirus infection.
“Among the 74 cluster cases reported so far this year, 62 clusters, or 84 percent, were caused by a norovirus infection,” he said, adding that 39 clusters were in schools, mainly elementary schools or preschools.
Lo said the majority of cluster cases were caused by the GII.2 norovirus, which was first discovered in the nation in September last year.
As many Taiwanese have not developed immunity against it, adults and children should maintain good personal hygiene to prevent infection, Lo said.
The CDC said norovirus infections are highly contagious and often transmitted via the fecal-oral route, so a person can be infected by having contact with someone who is infected with norovirus, or touching objects or food contaminated with norovirus and then putting their fingers in their mouth.
The CDC urged people to wash their hands thoroughly after using the toilet, and before preparing food or eating, and to keep all food in a clean environment.
Food should be handled safely and hygienically, to prevent viruses from spreading, it said.
People who are suffering from nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, fever and other related symptoms should get plenty of rest, drink plenty of water and increase their intake of nutrients while avoiding food high in fat or sugar, the CDC said.
They should not return to work or school until 48 hours after the symptoms abate, it said.
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