The flu season has entered the peak period with 76,562 cases of flu-like illnesses reported last week, including 24 cases of serious flu complications and five flu-related deaths, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) said yesterday.
CDC Epidemic Intelligence Center Director Liu Ting-ping (劉定萍) said 76,562 cases of flu-like illnesses were reported by outpatient departments and emergency rooms across the nation last week, with the number of cases exceeding the flu epidemic threshold, marking the beginning of the peak period.
All of the 24 serious flu complications did not get vaccinated against the flu this season, with 15 infected with the influenza A H1N1 virus, she said, adding that three of the five who died were infected with the influenza A H3N2 virus and two were infected with the influenza A H1N1 virus.
The ages of those who had died ranged from 40 to 91 years old and all had records of chronic disease. They suffered the serious complications of pneumonia and septic shock, CDC physician Lin Yung-ching (林詠青) said.
A total of 188 serious flu complications, including 18 flu-related deaths, have been confirmed since Oct. 1 last year, he said, adding that 55 percent were infected with the H3N2 virus and 36 percent with the H1N1 virus.
The peak of the season is likely to be the Lunar New Year holiday, but the epidemic situation is expected to be relatively milder, CDC Deputy Director-General Philip Lo (羅一鈞) said.
Because the peak period came later this season, it is likely to extend to the middle or end of next month, he said.
The CDC urged people to observe hand hygiene and cough etiquette, and to avoid visiting crowded and poorly ventilated public places to prevent flu infection.
Those diagnosed with the flu should rest at home until fully recovered, it said.
Approximately 399,000 boxes of government-funded antiviral drugs to treat flu have been prepared and are available at 4,326 contracted healthcare facilities across the nation, Lo said, adding that so far the CDC has not detected drug resistance in flu viruses this season.
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