Wed, May 02, 2018 - Page 3 News List

First case of serious EV71 complications confirmed

By Lee I-chia  /  Staff reporter

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) yesterday reported this year’s first confirmed case of serious complications caused by enterovirus 71 (EV71) infection.

A three-year-old boy in southern Taiwan was hospitalized on April 9 after developing a fever with mild abdominal pain, weakness and convulsions, alongside vomiting and a loss of appetite, the CDC said.

A few days later, he started showing possible signs of developing serious complications, so the hospital moved him to an intensive care unit, collected specimens for testing and reported the case to the CDC, it said.

The boy recovered and was discharged on April 19, it said, adding that test results last week confirmed that the complications were caused by EV71.

The boy was usually at home or at preschool, had been on a domestic trip during the incubation period and his father reported having a fever and sore throat in late March, CDC physician Tsou Tsung-pei (鄒宗珮) said.

However, people who came into direct contact with the boy showed no similar symptoms, so he could have been infected by family members or people who showed no clear symptoms, Tsou said.

Children under five are particularly susceptible to severe complications caused by EV71, and the disease can progress rapidly, she said.

High fever lasting three days, and ulcers or blisters in the mouth, hands and feet are early signs of EV71 infection, Tsou added.

Early signs of serious complications include drowsiness, change in consciousness, weakness, vomiting, seizures, shortness of breath and rapid heartbeat, she said.

The symptoms can lead to brain stem encephalitis, heart failure, pulmonary edema and pneumorrhagia if not treated within three to seven days, Tsou said.

There were 5,032 reported cases of entrovirus infection last week, up about 20 percent from the previous week, but the cases have not yet reached the epidemic threshold, CDC Epidemic Intelligence Center Director Liu Ting-ping (劉定萍) said.

There were five reported cases of serious complications caused by enterovirus infection this year, she said.

An EV71 epidemic occurs in Taiwan every three to four years, and the last one occurred in 2016, so the CDC is monitoring outbreaks, CDC Deputy Director-General Philip Lo (羅一鈞) said.

The number of enterovirus infections reported by emergency rooms last week was the lowest for the same week over the past five years, he said, but added that the peak period for infection usually begins in late May or early June, and urged parents to pay attention to children’s hygiene, as well as other family members’.

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