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Year's first cases of cholera reported in central Taiwan

2012/09/18 22:10:29

Taipei, Sept. 18 (CNA) The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) confirmed Tuesday Taiwan's first cases this year of locally acquired cholera.

The sufferers, a 75-year-old couple living in central Taiwan, remained hospitalized after reporting symptons of watery diarrhea and vomiting in late August and early this month, the CDC said.

An examination by CDC officials confirmed that the two had been infected with the Vibrio cholerae O1 Ogawa strain of the disease.

The CDC said they were searching for the source of the bacterium but had not discovered any in the underground water that supplies their home or in a fish farm near where they live.

Luo I-chun, a CDC doctor, said health officials were also awaiting test results on food samples taken from the couple, who mostly eat vegetables and seafood they grow themselves. They are known to have eaten seafood given to them by their children before contracting the cholera.

There have only been four major outbreaks of cholera in Taiwan since the founding of the Republic of China, Luo went on, adding that the last one occurred in 1964, although there are one or two isolated cases every year, mostly as a result of eating raw seafood.

Recent infections include three, five and two cases of locally acquired cholera in 2009, 2010 and 2011, respectively.

The CDC said cholera is typically transmitted by eating food or drinking water contaminated with the bacterium.

It urged the public to make sure they thoroughly cook their food and boil their water, to make sure food is properly refrigerated and to keep cooked and uncooked food separate during the preparation process.

(By Chen Ching-fang and Scully Hsiao)