Wed, Jul 04, 2018 - Page 3 News List

CDC says enterovirus cases on the rise

SEPARATE STRAIN:A high percentage of infants with the EV11 strain develop complications, which increases the death rate to 40 or 50 percent, a CDC physician said

By Lee I-chia  /  Staff reporter

The number of people with enterovirus infections has continued to increase, reaching 12,378 last week, the Centers for Diseases Control (CDC) said yesterday, while urging caution of wild animals when visiting natural areas.

This is the peak period for enterovirus infections, CDC Epidemic Intelligence Center Director Liu Ting-ping (劉定萍) said, adding that 18 people have exhibited severe complications so far this year.

Among the people with severe complications, eight (including four who died) were newborns, she said, adding that eight were infected with the echovirus 11 (EV11) strain.

Two cases with severe complications, both infected with EV11, were reported last week: a newborn girl who was diagnosed three days after birth and died two weeks after the onset of symptoms, and a two-year-old boy, CDC physician Huang Wan-ting (黃婉婷) said.

The newborn was hospitalized after exhibiting respiratory distress, but was referred to a medical center for immediate treatment after she developed a rapid heartbeat, acute hepatitis and myocarditis, she said.

The boy was hospitalized for symptoms including a fever and febrile seizures, and was transferred to an intensive care unit after developing convulsions and exhibiting low vitality, she said, adding that he was discharged from the hospital after his symptoms abated.

“A relatively high percentage of newborns infected with EV11 develop severe complications, and the death rate for those infected with EV11 who develop severe complications can be as high as 40 to 50 percent,” Huang said.

She urged pregnant women to consult a doctor if they experience symptoms within 14 days before their expected delivery date, adding that family members should avoid direct contact with newborns, or if they are to handle the child, to wash their hands thoroughly.

CDC Deputy Director-General Philip Lo (羅一鈞) said that 89.8 percent of enterovirus prevention facilities at hospitals and postpartum care centers surveyed in a surprise inspection last month passed.

Thirteen of the 17 facilities that failed passed a follow-up inspection, while the remaining four facilities are to be reinspected this week.

Meanwhile, the CDC urged people to avoid insect and snake bites, as well as direct contact with animals while vacationing in wild areas to prevent becoming infected with rabies.

People who have been bitten by wild animals or stray cats or dogs should immediately wash the wound with soap and water for 15 minutes, disinfect it with a 70 percent alcohol or povidone-iodine solution and seek immediate treatment at a hospital with rabies vaccines, it said.

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