The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) yesterday placed a record-high of more than 1,500 people on a monitoring list in response to a recent confirmed case of German measles involving a China Airlines flight attendant.
“The female flight attendant lives in northern Taiwan and started experiencing fever, a runny nose, coughing and rashes on Saturday. On Wednesday it was confirmed she had German measles and she remains in quarantine,” CDC Deputy Director-General Chuang Jen-hsiang (莊人祥) said.
Chuang said the stewardess could have contracted rubella between Feb. 21 and Feb. 28, either in Vietnam, Indonesia or Hong Kong, categorizing her case as an imported one.
Rubella can be transmitted by airborne droplets seven days before and after symptoms develop. It has an incubation period of between 14 and 21 days.
The flight attendant worked on six flights during her infectious period, including Flight CI116 and Flight CI117 traveling between Taoyuan and Fukuoka on March 8, Flights CI110 and CI111 between Taoyuan and Fukuoka on March 10 and March 11, and Flights CI753 and CI754 traveling between Taoyuan and Singapore on Friday and Saturday last week, the centers said.
Chuang said a total of 686 Taiwanese who had contact with the flight attendant, including passengers, her colleagues, family and medical personnel and patients who were at the hospital where she sought treatment, have been asked to monitor their physical conditions until April 11.
“However, the centers have only managed to contact 72 of the potentially exposed individuals thus far. The rest are urged to call the centers’ disease prevention toll-free hotline 1922 or contact a local health bureau if they exhibit any symptoms of rubella,” Chuang said.
The agency said it had also notified the 11 countries where the 872 foreign passengers who were on board the six flights come from via the International Health Regulations (IHR) Focal Point.
According to CDC statistics, there have been two confirmed cases of German measles in Taiwan this year, including one imported case and one local case.
The centers urged the public not to panic as more than 95 percent of people in the nation have been vaccinated against rubella or have gained immunity from past infection.
Nevertheless, pregnant women should be vigilant, the agency said, because German measles can lead to stillborn deaths, miscarriages and birth defects, including hearing impairment, glaucoma, small head size and heart disease.
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