The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) yesterday reported the nation’s first case of death from influenza this flu season and one new imported case of COVID-19.
The deceased was a man in his 80s who did not get vaccinated against the flu this season — which started in October — and was infected with the type A influenza virus, Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Epidemic Intelligence Center Director Guo Hung-wei (郭宏偉) said.
The man, who lived in southern Taiwan, had a history of diabetes, hypertension and stroke, and at times experienced coughing or choking when eating, CDC physician Lin Yung-ching (林詠青) said.
Photo: Lin Hui-chin, Taipei Times
On March 20, a family member noticed that he had difficulty breathing and phlegm in the throat.
He was hospitalized the next day for shortness of breath, low blood oxygen levels and vomiting, Lin said, adding that he was diagnosed with aspiration pneumonia in both lungs.
The man was transferred to the intensive care unit shortly after he experienced respiratory failure, and further examinations found that he had been infected with an influenza A virus, so he was given antibiotics and antiviral drugs, Lin said.
However, the man also developed kidney failure and septic shock, and died on Saturday, he said.
It was the first flu death and the second serious flu complication this season, he added.
While the number of serious flu complications and flu deaths have been significantly lower than in previous years, it does not mean that local communities are safe from circulating flu viruses, so people, especially those with underlying health conditions, should still take preventive measures against the disease, he added.
Eligibility for government-funded flu vaccines has since Jan. 30 been expanded to include everyone older than six months, so people with a higher risk of serious complications from flu infection are advised to get vaccinated, he said.
A Taiwanese woman in her 30s who returned to Taiwan from the UK on Sunday is the nation’s latest confirmed case of COVID-19, said CDC Deputy Director-General Chuang Jen-hsiang (莊人祥), who is also the CECC spokesman.
The woman left in September 2019 for the UK for studies and did not show any symptoms after returning to Taiwan, Chuang said.
However, she tested positive for COVID-19 in a specialized testing program at the centralized quarantine facility on Monday, he said.
Thirteen people who were seated close to her on the same flight to Taiwan have tested negative and remain isolated at centralized quarantine facilities, he added.
As of 10am yesterday, 10,891 people had received a dose of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 jab since vaccinations started in Taiwan on Monday last week, he said, adding that 10 more non-serious adverse events were reported on Monday.
The mild adverse events were symptoms such as fever, sore muscles, chills, headache and pain at the injection site, he added.
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