ERs swamped by diarrhea cases on Mid-Autumn fest

By Lee I-chia  /  Staff reporter

Wed, Sep 26, 2018 - Page 3

The number of people who sought emergency treatment for diarrhea hit a three-year high of 1,703 on the Mid-Autumn Festival on Monday, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) said yesterday.

As barbecuing with friends and family during the festival has become a popular tradition, the number of diarrhea cases at outpatient clinics and emergency rooms usually increase during the week before and after the holiday.

According to the CDC’s weekly disease monitoring statistics, a total of 152,782 diarrhea cases were reported last week, including 6,671 emergency room visits, which was 523 higher than the week before.

That did not include the 1,703 emergency room visits on the day of the holiday, which was higher than the 1,397 visits reported during the Mid-Autumn Festival last year and 1,229 visits in 2016.

Aside from barbecues, other parties and gatherings during the holiday might have triggered the rise in the number of diarrhea cases, with the total expected to reach about 8,000 this week, CDC Deputy Director-General Chuang Jen-hsiang (莊人祥) said.

Chuang urged people who suffer abdominal pain, diarrhea or vomiting to seek medical attention or rest at home to avoid spreading the disease at school or their workplace, because diarrheal and gastrointestinal infections are mainly transmitted through the fecal-oral route, including contaminated food and water, or respiratory droplets from an infected person’s mouth and nose.

Maintaining good personal and food hygiene, washing hands frequently and thoroughly, and avoiding raw food are effective methods to prevent infection, Chuang said.

Clothes, bed sheets, toilet and door knobs that the infected person had direct contact with should be disinfected with diluted bleach, he said.

Separately, the CDC confirmed a case of Coxsackievirus A10 (a type of enterovirus) infection with serious complications.

A seven-year-old girl living in northern Taiwan contracted the disease and was hospitalized for a week, it said.