Wed, Feb 14, 2018 - Page 3 News List

Number of serious flu cases hits high, five deaths verified

By Lee I-chia  /  Staff reporter

A total of 57 serious flu complications were reported last week, the greatest number of weekly cases reported this season, and five flu-related deaths were confirmed, including a 33-year-old woman who had no history of chronic disease, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) said yesterday.

A total of 111,541 cases of flu-like illness were reported at hospitals and clinics nationwide last week, a 4 percent decrease from a week earlier, with 45 clustered cases reported over the past four weeks, with 30 clusters, or 66.7 percent, on school campuses, the agency said.

Of the five confirmed flu-linked deaths, four were influenza B infections and one was an influenza A virus subtype H1N1 infection, the agency said, adding that none of the deceased received vaccinations against the flu this season.

In the 33-year-old woman’s case, she was coughing up phlegm and had a runny nose before seeking medical treatment at a clinic, but was hospitalized after developing a more serious cough and shortness of breath eight days after the onset of symptoms, CDC physician Lin Yung-ching (林詠青) said.

The woman was diagnosed with pneumonia in both lungs and an anti-viral was prescribed, but she died after going into shock the next day, Lin said.

The greatest weekly number of reported serious flu complications — 57 cases — was confirmed last week, Lin said, adding that 44 patients did not receive vaccinations against the flu and nearly 80 percent have chronic diseases.

As a serious flu infection can develop into pneumonia, people with flu-like illness who develop more serious symptoms, such as unconsciousness or shortness of breath, should seek medical attention immediately, CDC Deputy Director-General Chuang Jen-hsiang (莊人祥) said.

As the number of people with flu-like illness who seek treatment at emergency rooms has reached its peak during the Lunar New Year holiday over the past few years — with 28,626 cases in 2015, 56,936 in 2016 and 25,278 last year — the agency has launched a peak flu period response plan to enhance disease monitoring, healthcare quality and the allocation of medical resources, Chuang said.

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