The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) yesterday reported the first case of measles contracted in New Zealand, as it warned that this is still the peak period for enterovirus infections.
A man in his 20s living in southern Taiwan who visited New Zealand with his family from Aug. 14 to Aug. 24 developed a fever on Sept. 1 and sought medical attention at clinics three times before he developed a rash and sought treatment at a hospital on Sept. 5 and again on Sept. 7.
On his last visit, he was finally confirmed to have measles and hospitalized.
CDC physician Huang Wan-ting (黃婉婷) said the man had initially been diagnosed with a cold and a viral infection.
He is now back home, while the 601 people who had direct contact with him during the communicable period for measles will continue to be monitored until Wednesday next week, Huang said.
CDC Deputy Director-General Philip Lo (羅一鈞) said doctors might have erred in their initial diagnoses because most cases of imported measles have come from Southeast Asia, Europe or the US, so the doctors did not suspect measles even when the man told them he had recently visited New Zealand.
New Zealand is facing its worst measles outbreak in more than 22 years, with a total of 1,275 cases confirmed as of Friday, 165 cases in the past week alone, Huang said.
The CDC has issued a level-one travel notice — the “Watch” level — for measles in New Zealand, she added.
On the enterovirus front, CDC Epidemic Intelligence Center Deputy Director Guo Hung-wei (郭宏偉) said 20,585 hospital and clinic visits related to the virus were reported last week, a 6.5 percent increase from the week before, showing the disease is still in its peak period.
A total of 243 classes were suspended last week due to enterovirus infections, 194 at preschools, 26 at elementary schools and 23 at nursery schools.
The enterovirus outbreak is expected to continue until the middle of next month, so parents and people who work with young children should be especially alert for signs of suspected symptoms in children.
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