Four cases of serious complications from enterovirus infections were confirmed last week, including a two-year-old in northern Taiwan, and a two-year-old, three-year-old and an 11-year-old in central Taiwan, Centers for Disease Control (CDC) physician Lin Yung-ching (林詠青) said yesterday.
Three of the children were infected with enterovirus 71 (EV71) and one with coxsackievirus A4, he said, adding that they had developed either encephalitis (inflammation of the brain) or encephalomyelitis (inflammation of the brain and spinal cord).
The symptoms — fever, vomiting, oral ulcers, leg weakness, involuntary twitching of the muscles and loss of consciousness — occurred between Sept. 12 and Sept. 25, Lin said.
All four were hospitalized and treated in time, Lin said.
CDC Deputy Director-General Philip Lo (羅一鈞) said children under five years old are at an increased risk of serious complications, especially as there has not been a large EV71 epidemic in Taiwan for many years, so most children or teenagers have never been infected.
There were 17,570 hospital visits for enterovirus infections last week, a reduction of 7.2 percent compared with the week before, with the main virus types in the past four weeks being coxsackie type A, CDC data showed.
The reduced number of cases last week could be because many clinics and hospitals were not open during the four-day Double Ten National Day holiday, Lo said, adding that enterovirus is still in its epidemic season, so parents and people who work with children should take preventive measures and be on the look out for symptoms.
Meanwhile, a case of Japanese encephalitis in a man in his 30s in Yunlin’s Huwei Township (虎尾) was confirmed last week, the CDC said.
The man, who had not visited another country, suffered a fever on Sept. 21, was hospitalized on Sept. 23 after losing consciousness and remained in an intensive care unit until Oct. 2, Lin said.
“The man’s vital signs are stable, but his speech has not yet fully recovered and he still has weak limbs,” he said.
The fatality rate of Japanese encephalitis can be up to 20 or 30 percent, and 30 to 50 percent of those who do recover suffer permanent neurological or psychiatric aftereffects.
Twenty-one cases have been confirmed this year, including two deaths: Five were in Kaohsiung, four in Taoyuan and three in Taichung, with the others being sporadic cases in other cities and counties, Lin said.
Getting vaccinated is the best way to prevent Japanese encephalitis, Lin said, urging people to take infants older than 15 months to get vaccinated at local health departments, contracted clinics and hospitals.
FOSSIL CLUES: The bushfires resulted from a positive Indian Ocean dipole event, when the region east of the ocean becomes drier, professor Shen Chuan-chou said The bushfires that swept through Australia last year were connected to a phenomenon known as the Indian Ocean dipole (IOD), which is expected to become more frequent due to climate change, a geologist studying coral fossils said yesterday. National Taiwan University Department of Geosciences professor Shen Chuan-chou (沈川洲) since 2001 has been working with Australian and US researchers to study climate systems in the Indian Ocean. Led by Australian National University Research School of Earth Sciences professor Nerilie Abram, the team published a paper on IOD in the journal Nature on March 9. The bushfires resulted from a positive IOD event, when the
Senior judges yesterday met to discuss the constitutionality of a law that makes adultery a criminal offense, before being ordered by Judicial Yuan President Hsu Tzong-li (許宗力) to set a date for a constitutional interpretation within the next month. The judges met to discuss Article 239 of the Criminal Code on offenses against marriage and family, after 18 judges had called for a constitutional interpretation of the issue. Taipei District Court Judge Lin Meng-huang (林孟皇) said that while he had previously tried adultery cases and never questioned the law, his feelings changed when trying a case last year involving baseball star Wang
Instead of hating the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT), help change it, KMT Chairman Johnny Chiang (江啟臣) said, as he urged young people to join efforts to reform the party. As the nation marked Youth Day on Sunday, Chiang said in a Facebook post that he wanted to remind people that “the KMT used to be very young.” Now, when people think of the KMT, they equate it with older people, he wrote. “Even if [the KMT] is a 100-year-old party, it must maintain a young mentality, and understand what young people want and what they want the KMT to do,” Chiang wrote.
TOO TIRED: Investigators found that the pilot’s lack of alertness could be attributed to a lack of sleep the previous night, when he had slept with his child It was a copilot’s inappropriate operation of the aircraft and the pilot’s insufficient alertness that led to a hard landing of a China Airlines cargo flight on Dec. 13, 2018, the Taiwan Transportation Safety Board said yesterday. Flight CI6844, a Boeing 747-409 which departed from Hong Kong International Airport, landed on the pre-threshold area of runway L5 at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport, about 21m before the head of the runway, an investigation report said. The hard landing damaged three runway lights, but none of the personnel on board sustained any injuries, the report said. When approaching the runway, the copilot failed to maintain