The number of people reporting flu-like symptoms last week rose to more than 80,000, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) said, urging people who are planning to visit other nations this summer to take precautions against infectious diseases.
A total of 82,376 cases of flu-like illnesses — an increase of 13.7 percent from a week earlier — and 45 serious flu complications were reported last week, both figures the highest so far this year, the agency said.
Forty-four clusters of upper respiratory or flu-like illnesses were reported, 26 of which were caused by flu infection, the agency said, adding that 16 of the outbreaks were in schools.
CDC physician Huang Wan-ting (黃婉婷) said that 45 serious complications arising from the flu were confirmed last week.
The youngest case was a two-year-old infant who died after four days with a fever, shortness of breath, intermittent unconsciousness and swelling of the brain and heart, Huang said, adding that the child had not received a flu vaccination.
The dominant flu strain at the moment is influenza A virus subtype H3N2, from which the majority of serious complications arose last week, she said.
CDC disease monitoring data showed that 613 people with serious flu complications — including 69 deaths — have been confirmed since July last year.
Flu viruses are mainly spread through nose and mouth fluids, as well as direct contact with contaminated objects, CDC Deputy Director-General Chuang Jen-hsiang (莊人祥) said.
The agency urged people with flu-like symptoms to seek medical attention and stay home and rest if they are diagnosed with the flu, Chuang said.
Separately, two Taiwanese passengers on a June 5 flight from Malaysia’s Sabah State were found to have a fever upon arrival at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport and subsequently tested positive for dengue fever, Chuang said.
Nine other people in the tour group also suffered from cold-like symptoms, of whom five were diagnosed as having influenza A viral infections, he said.
As summer is a peak season for tourism, the CDC suggests that people visit the its official Web site (www.cdc.gov.tw) to understand the spread of diseases in their destinations and to take precautions before leaving, he said.
The agency also urged people who are planning to get vaccinated against certain diseases to consult with travel medicine physicians about four to eight weeks prior to their trips, as well as to pay attention to food and personal hygiene and avoid mosquito bites and direct contact with animals.
Travelers should report illnesses at airport quarantine stations if symptoms occur before leaving or when returning to Taiwan, it added.
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