The number of enterovirus infections reported last week were the lowest in the past six years for the period, but an increase is expected later this month and early next month, so people should take proper precautions, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) said yesterday.
According to its statistics, the number of enterovirus infections usually begin to increase in late March and peak between late May and mid-June, the agency said.
However, recent weekly reports show that entrovirus infections are down, with 2,789 cases reported between April 9 and Saturday last week, compared with the 6,562 cases reported in the same week last year and the numbers in the preceeding years, it said.
CDC Deputy Director-General Philip Lo (羅一鈞) said as of Monday, a total of 11 cases of enterovirus 71 (EV71) infections were reported, but were all considered mild cases.
One case of coxsackievirus A2 with severe complications has been reported this year, Lo said.
Lo said the outbreak delay might be because of the late arrival of warmer temperatures, but the number of infections is still expected to start increasing by the end of this month and could peak before the summer.
The CDC will continue to closely monitor the enterovirus infection outbreak, he said, adding that parents and teachers should be cautious and remind children to wash their hands thoroughly with soap and water after using the toilet and before eating.
CDC physician Lee Yen-yi (李彥儀) said parents should also be aware if their baby or young children who are diagnosed with enterovirus infection begin to show symptoms of sleepiness, poor vitality, weak limbs, myoclonic seizure, continuous vomiting, shortness of breath, rapid heartbeat or are unconscious.
These symptoms can be an early sign of severe complications and the children should get medical treatment as soon as possible, Lee said.
Lo said enteroviruses are highly contagious and some people who are infected might have mild symptoms, making it difficult to diagnose, so the best way is to maintain good personal hygiene.
Parents and family members of babies and young children infected with the virus should change soiled clothing before hugging or feeding them.
Family members should also remember to frequently wash their hands with soap and water.
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