Thu, Sep 14, 2017 - Page 3 News List

Enterovirus cases hit weekly record

By Lee I-chia  /  Staff reporter

The number of reported enterovirus infections last week reached a record high of 15,290 cases, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) said yesterday, adding that outbreaks are expected to peak next month or in November.

The weekly number of reported enterovirus cases has been increasing over the past five weeks, the agency said, adding that last week’s total of 15,290 cases is about 3.2 times the number reported in the same period last year, as well as the highest weekly sum this year.

There were no severe complications caused by enterovirus infections last week, the centers said, but a total of nine severe cases, including one death, have been reported this year: three coxsackievirus A6, two coxsackievirus B3, two echovirus 5, one coxsackievirus A2 and one enterovirus D68 infections.

Coxsackievirus group A infections are the most common now, the peak enterovirus infection period, but 37 mild enterovirus 71 infections have also been reported this year, it added.

“Four cases of enterovirus 71 infections were reported last week, all in northern Taiwan, which is a warning sign,” CDC Deputy Director-General Philip Lo (羅一鈞) said.

CDC physician Su Wei-ju (蘇韋如) said the four cases involved children between one and six years old, all of whom had a fever, throat blisters and rashes on their extremities.

Children younger than five are considered a high-risk group for enterovirus infections, and as the viruses are highly contagious, parents should change their clothes and wash their hands thoroughly after returning home and before approaching infants or young children.

“There were no large-scale enterovirus outbreaks in the summer, so the peak period is expected to arrive later this year,” Lo said, adding that the peak period is usually in June, but this year could arrive next month or in November.

As the peak period is delayed and school has started, the risk of enterovirus transmission in schools might increase, he added.

Children who are diagnosed with an enterovirus infection should stay home to rest and avoid contact with other children to prevent the risk of transmission, Su said, adding that they should be taken to a hospital for immediate treatment if they develop signs of severe complications.

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