Sun, Apr 22, 2018 - Page 3 News List

Tigerair, attendants face fines over measles cases

THREE MORE INFECTIONS:The Centers for Disease Control yesterday confirmed an independent measles outbreak at Linkou Chang Gung Memorial Hospital

By Lee I-chia  /  Staff reporter

The Kaohsiung Department of Heath yesterday imposed a fine on low-cost carrier Tigerair Taiwan (台灣虎航) for letting flight attendants work after they were found to have symptoms of measles, caused by a recent clustered outbreak.

The airline faces a fine of between NT$60,000 (US$2,040) and NT$300,000, based on the Communicable Disease Control Act (傳染病防治法), department Disease Control Division head Pan Chao-ying (潘炤穎) said.

Two Tigerair flight attendants who were confirmed to have measles also face fines, Pan said, adding that a flight attendant in his 30s has already been fined NT$12,000 and a flight attendant in her 20s would be fined between NT$3,000 and NT$15,000 for still traveling around Taiwan after the onset of symptoms.

The outbreak of measles began with a Taiwanese man who was infected in Thailand last month and, unaware, in the same month took a Tigerair flight to Okinawa, Japan, where he was diagnosed with measles.

Including the original patient, a total of 13 measels cases have been confirmed and are associated with the outbreak this month: one colleague of the patient; two Tigerair flight attendants, one crew member and one passenger who were on the flight to Okinawa with the patient; and four Tigerair flight attendants and one crew member, as well as two ground employees of other airlines, who were indirectly infected.

Pan said the male flight attendant who was fined showed symptoms on March 24, but still flew, and the female flight attendant who would be fined showed symptoms on April 5, but between then and April 12 still flew to Thailand, Macau and South Korea, and on April 13 traveled to Kaohsiung by high-speed rail.

The department urged people who experience symptoms of measles, including fever, coughing, runny nose, watery eyes and red, blotchy skin rashes, to seek immediate medical attention and stay at home if diagnosed.

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) yesterday confirmed a separate measles cluster at Linkou Chang Gung Memorial Hospital in New Taipei City, with the source being a woman who contracted the disease in Macau and had blood drawn at the hospital before she was diagnosed with measles.

Two other measles cases were confirmed and associated with the woman: a male nurse in his 20s working at Linkou Chang Gung Memorial Hospital and a female patient in her 40s who was at the blood drawing station on the same day as the patient, CDC Deputy Director-General Chuang Jen-hsiang (莊人祥) said.

A man in his 20s who traveled in Thailand between April 3 and April 8 began experiencing suspected measles symptoms and was confirmed to have the disease yesterday, but is viewed as an independent case.

The CDC said 22 confirmed measles cases were reported this year — seven contracted abroad and 15 contracted domestically.

While the centers and local health departments would continue to monitor outbreaks and people who have had contact with the patients, the CDC advises people traveling to areas where the disease is prevalent to get vaccinated before departure, it said.

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