Wed, Jan 31, 2018 - Page 3 News List

CDC warns public after rise in reported flu cases

BEWARE:Deputy Director-General Chuang Jen-hsiang said that while the agency forecast last week was the flu season’s peak, people should not let their guard down

By Lee I-chia  /  Staff reporter

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) yesterday advised the public to take measures to prevent flu infections, citing a 4 percent increase in the number of infections reported last week.

CDC Epidemic Intelligence Center Director Liu Ting-ping (劉定萍) said flu-like illnesses last week reached a total of 135,259 reported cases, with 49 cases of serious flu complications confirmed, 42 of which involved people who did not receive a vaccination against the flu this season.

Among 261 confirmed serious flu complication cases and 40 deaths caused by the flu reported since Oct. 1 last year, about 80 percent were influenza B virus infections, she said.

CDC physician Lin Yung-ching (林詠青) cited the case of a six-month-old boy who was confirmed to have serious flu-related complications last week, the youngest case this season.

The boy’s family members had exhibited cold-like symptoms and he has returned home after being hospitalized for one week, Lin said, adding that as infants younger than six months are not allowed to be vaccinated against the flu, parents are responsible for protecting them from viruses by maintaining good personal hygiene.

Eight of the nine deaths that were last week confirmed to be caused by the flu involved people who did not get vaccinated, including a 36-year-old man with a history of diabetes, hypertension and chronic cardiovascular disease who developed pneumonia and myocarditis after being infected, he said.

CDC Deputy Director-General Chuang Jen-hsiang (莊人祥) said the agency forecast that last week would be the epidemic peak of the flu season and weekly reported cases might begin to drop this week, but added that it is still the peak period in the nation, so people should continue to take precautions and not let their guard down.

As students are in winter vacation and the Lunar New Year holiday is approaching, with many people going to exhibitions, attending year-end parties or going grocery shopping for the holidays, the public should practice good hand and respiratory hygiene and cough etiquette in crowded places, the agency said.

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