The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) yesterday confirmed the fifth imported case of German measles this year, involving a 12-year-old Taiwanese-Indonesian boy who has had contact with 75 people since arriving in Taiwan late last month.
The boy has been living in Indonesia with his Taiwanese father and Indonesian mother for years, and he and his family arrived for a visit on June 20, six days before he started exhibiting symptoms such as fever and skin rashes, the centers said.
The boy was later diagnosed with rubella and has since been quarantined at the family home in Greater Tainan, the centers said, adding that it was uncertain whether he had ever been vaccinated against the highly contagious disease.
“The child and his family arrived at the Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport at midnight on June 20. They first took a bus operated by UBus Co at 12:20am to its Jhongli transfer station in Taoyuan County, before boarding another bus heading to Greater Tainan at 12:45am,” the centers said.
The boy visited cosmetics retailer Poya’s Dongning (東寧) branch and Pxmart’s Dongan (東安) store in Greater Tainan at about 4pm on June 22, the centers added.
“None of the 75 people who had contact with the boy have displayed any measles-like symptoms, but the centers will continue to closely monitor their condition,” CDC Deputy Director-General Chuang Jen-hsiang (莊人祥) said.
Chuang also called on people who were on the same bus and visited the same areas to check for symptoms such as fever, headache, rhinitis, conjunctivitis (pink eye) and rashes until July 24, as the disease has an incubation period of between 14 and 17 days.
As of yesterday, a total of five cases of German measles have been reported in the country, four of which were imported from the Philippines, China, Malaysia and Indonesia, and one could either have been from China or occurred domestically.
German measles is spread through droplets of fluid from the mouth and nose. It can cause miscarriage, stillbirths and a number of serious birth defects, such as deafness, congenital cataracts and glaucoma, heart defects and mental disability.
Chuang said that although almost every adult Taiwanese was given two doses of measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine as a child, the vaccine-induced immunity gradually fades over the years.
“Therefore, people aged between 20 and 50 who are planning to visit areas where rubella continues to occur — such as Japan, China and the Southeast Asian countries — are strongly advised to get vaccinated again at least two to four weeks before their departure,” Chuang said.