The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) yesterday urged people to take precautions against the flu over the New Year’s holiday, as flu cases have been on the rise in Taiwan over the past few weeks.
In the week ending on Dec. 22, a total of 68,148 people sought outpatient or emergency treatment for flu-like symptoms at hospitals and clinics across the nation, compared with 61,628 people the week before, CDC Deputy Director-General Chuang Jen-hsiang (莊人祥) said, adding that 20 of the patients — 85 percent of whom had not received flu vaccines — developed serious flu complications.
The predominant flu strain over the past four weeks has been H3N2, Chuang said.
Photo: Lin Hui-chin, Taipei Times
Temperatures during the New Year holiday and the rest of the week are expected to be relatively low, and Chuang urged people who plan on participating in New Year’s Eve festivities to protect themselves against the flu by wearing masks and frequently washing their hands.
The weather is to remain cold and wet across Taiwan over the next two days, the Central Weather Bureau said yesterday, adding that heavy cloud cover over Taiwan would likely prevent people from seeing the first rays of the sun coming over the horizon on the first day of the year.
In other news, the centers said a new measles case was confirmed in Taipei on Saturday as a mother had contracted the disease from her 11-month-old boy, who was last week confirmed to have the disease.
The mother, in her 30s, developed a fever on Monday last week, after her baby had developed similar symptoms about a week earlier, and was confirmed eight days later to have the measles, the centers said, adding that the progression of the two cases indicated that the mother contracted the disease from the baby.
Chuang said the mother and the young boy visited the Philippines in early November, and the baby might have caught the disease there based on how his case has progressed, making it an imported case.
He said he was surprised to learn that the mother was in January inoculated against measles, mumps and rubella (MMR), but had not yet developed any antibodies, something that happens in only 5 percent of MMR vaccinations.
According to the Taipei Department of Health, 138 people were identified as having come into contact with the mother, and they are being closely monitored by health authorities until Jan. 18.
Of the 138 people, 114 worked with the mother, 14 had visited a supermarket in Neihu District (內湖) and 10 had eaten at a restaurant in Nangang District (南港), Taipei Department of Health official Ou Chia-ling (歐佳齡) said.
A total of 272 people have been identified as having come into contact with the baby, and 15 of them have developed a fever, cough and runny nose, Chuang said, adding that the people are being monitored until Jan. 8.
A total of 39 measles cases have been reported in Taiwan so far this year, 11 of which were contracted abroad, CDC data showed.
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