A total of 66,513 cases of flu-like illness were reported last week, including a 36-year-old man who died from serious complications in just five days, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) said yesterday.
The weekly number of reported cases increased 15 percent last week, showing a continuous growth trend, CDC Epidemic Intelligence Center Director Liu Ting-ping (劉定萍) said, adding that of 14 cluster infections, 13 were on school campuses.
CDC Deputy Director-General Philip Lo (羅一鈞) said five cases of serious flu complications were confirmed last week, including a three-year-old girl in southern Taiwan who had no history of chronic disease and was vaccinated against the flu this season.
The girl was diagnosed with the influenza A virus and has been hospitalized, Lo said, adding that she is the youngest patient with serious complications reported this flu season.
CDC physician Huang Wan-ting (黃婉婷) said the 36-year-old man, who lived in eastern Taiwan and had a history of chronic kidney and cardiovascular disease, did not get vaccinated this flu season and was diagnosed with the influenza A virus.
The man had a fever, which led to difficulty breathing after four days, Huang said, adding that he was taken to an emergency room and immediately hospitalized after he was confirmed to have pneumonia.
He died the next day — only five days after the onset of the fever — and is the youngest fatality caused by the flu this season, she said.
There have been 62 cases of serious flu complications reported since Oct. 1, 56 percent of which involved the influenza B virus, agency statistics showed.
Two of three reported deaths were caused by influenza A subtype H3N2 infections, while the third was due to the influenza B virus, the data showed.
The flu season usually reaches its peak near the Lunar New Year holiday, but as temperatures have been relatively low and there is to be a three-day New Year’s holiday, the flu season will likely reach its peak on about New Year’s Day at the earliest, Lo said.
As flu infections can develop into pneumonia, encephalitis and myocarditis, the agency suggested that people get vaccinated; maintain good hand and respiratory hygiene by frequently washing their hands and covering their mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing; and to avoid crowded places.
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