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.
SPEEDING ELETRIC VEHICLES: Available without license requirements, the low-cost vehicles, especially if illicitly modified, can often reach a dangerous speed The government should crack down on illegal electric bicycles and scooters, the non-profit Consumers’ Foundation said on Friday, citing research on the potentially dangerous speed of the vehicles. Electric bicycles and lightweight electric scooters have gained popularity as they do not require registration and riders do not need licenses, the foundation said, adding that as many as 40 percent of them can reach speeds exceeding the legal limit of 25kph for non-licensed two-wheelers. Some consumers also purchased legal electric vehicles and modified them to reach higher speeds, it said. “If the government does not step up efforts to confiscate these
‘RELIABLE PARTNER’: US Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar praised the ‘Taiwan model,’ saying that the nation brought its spirit to its COVID-19 response The first memorandum of understanding (MOU) on health cooperation between the Ministry of Health and Welfare and the US Department of Health and Human Services was yesterday signed at the Centers for Disease Control in Taipei. The memorandum was signed between the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) and the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office in the US, by AIT Director Brent Christensen and Taiwan Council for US Affairs Chairperson Jen-ni Yang (楊珍妮). US Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar and Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) witnessed the signing of the memorandum, designed to enhance the nations’
Minister of Foreign Affairs Joseph Wu (吳釗燮) yesterday tweeted a welcome to Somaliland’s first representative to Taiwan, Mohamed Omar Hagi Mohamoud, who arrived on Friday. Mohamoud had “braved Chinese pressure” to take up his new post, Wu wrote. “The fact ‘sovereignty & friendship aren’t for sale’ deserves international recognition,” referring to a Somaliland media report earlier this month that Somaliland President Muse Bihi Abdi had rejected an offer by the Chinese government in exchange for ending its rapprochement with Taiwan. Wu also thanked the US National Security Council (NSC) for praising Taiwan-Somaliland ties. A council tweet on July 10 praised Taiwan
The Taipei City Government yesterday said that construction on the long-suspended Taipei Dome can resume immediately, after it approved a request by the project’s main contractor, Farglory Group. In a statement, the Taipei Construction Management Office said that after it on July 16 issued a new building permit, Farglory submitted revised design plans and an application to resume construction, which the office approved on Friday. Construction had been suspended on the dome, near the Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall in Xinyi District (信義), for more than five years due to disagreements between the city and the company over the safety of some of