The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) yesterday confirmed seven new measles cases and one case of serious complication caused by an enterovirus infection.
The seven cases were associated with three clusters, two of which originated overseas, it said.
One cluster includes three men in their 20s and 30s who had been at a restaurant with an earlier patient who was infected in Hong Kong, while another cluster includes two men in their 20s who had direct contact with an earlier patient who was infected in Thailand, it added.
The third cluster includes two men in their 20s who work at a central Taiwan hospital where several cases have been reported, the CDC said, adding that a total of 10 cases associated with the cluster have been confirmed.
The man who caught the disease in Hong Kong began experiencing symptoms on March 29, but did not seek medical attention and went to a hot pot restaurant in New Taipei City with his friends the next day, resulting in one of his friends and two strangers becoming infected, CDC Deputy Director-General Philip Lo (羅一鈞) said.
The second cluster was started by a woman infected in Thailand who went to a restaurant in Taipei, resulting in the infection of a restaurant worker, as well as a man at a medical facility where she sought treatment, he said.
Measles is a highly contagious disease that can spread through the air from person to person, so people in small spaces with poor ventilation, such as an airplane cabin, with an infected person could be infected, even without direct interaction, he added.
A total of 63 measles cases have been confirmed this year: 36 originated in Taiwan — 25 people had direct contact with someone infected — and 27 were imported, the CDC said.
The agency urged people to take precautionary measures and consult a doctor about receiving a vaccine before visiting countries where the disease is spreading, including the Philippines, where more than 28,000 cases have been reported this year; Vietnam, where more than 18,000 suspected cases have been reported since October last year; and Thailand, where nearly 2,000 cases have been reported this year.
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