Thu, Feb 22, 2018 - Page 3 News List

Visits to ER with flu symptoms soared as clinics, hospitals took week off: CDC

By Lee I-chia  /  Staff reporter

Visits to emergency rooms (ER) by people with flu-like symptoms last week increased 88 percent, as hospitals and clinics were closed for the Lunar New Year holiday, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) said yesterday.

Between Feb. 11 and Saturday, 110,130 people were reported to have flu-like symptoms, which is about the same number as the week before, the CDC said.

On Sunday alone, more than 9,000 people sought treatment in emergency rooms for various illnesses, CDC Deputy Director-General Chuang Jen-hsiang (莊人祥) said.

There were four flu-related deaths last week, while 59 patients were diagnosed with serious flu complications, the CDC said.

Of the 58 flu-related deaths reported so far this flu season, 80 percent were infected by the type B influenza virus, Chuang said.

With clinics and hospitals returning to normal operations, the number of ER patients with flu-like symptoms is likely to decrease this week, Chuang said.

However, as people are also returning to school and work, the CDC urged people to maintain good hand hygiene and cough etiquette, adding that those with flu-like symptoms should wear a mask, immediately seek medical help and rest at home.

In related news, the CDC yesterday reported first two cases this year of people being bitten by wild Formosan ferret-badgers, in two separate incidents.

Both animals were caught and tested positive for rabies, the CDC said.

The two patients are hospitalized in Tainan County’s Guanmiao District (關廟) and Hualien County’s Kuangfu Township (光復), it said.

Neither has shown any symptoms of rabies infection, but both have been given rabies shots, the CDC said.

Several people get bitten or scratched by Formosan ferret-badgers every year, the CDC said.

Last year, there were 18 reported incidents and in 13 of them the animals tested positive for rabies, it said.

There have been three reported cases of rabies in humans in Taiwan since 2002 and all of them were imported — two from China and one from the Philippines — it said.

The mortality rate of rabies is almost 100 percent, so people who have been bitten by an animal should immediately seek medical treatment, the CDC said.

It urged people not to touch or try to catch wild animals and have their pet dogs and cats vaccinated against rabies every year.

In case of an animal bite, people should wash the wound with soap and disinfect it with povidone-iodine solution or alcohol (70 percent), the CDC said.

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