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Severe influenza cases in Taiwan rise to 124 since October

2018/12/18 18:15:32

Liu Ting-ping (劉定萍)

Taipei, Dec. 18 (CNA) Since Oct. 1, Taiwan has reported 124 cases of severe seasonal influenza with complications, 90 percent of which were patients who had not obtained the flu vaccine, a senior official at the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) said Tuesday.

In the week ending Dec. 15, a total of 61,628 people had sought outpatient and emergency treatment for flu-like symptoms at hospitals and clinics throughout the country, said Liu Ting-ping (劉定萍), director of the CDC Epidemic Intelligence Center.

During that week, 25 patients developed serious flu complications, Liu said, adding that 23 of those patients had not received flu vaccines.

Among the 23 patients were two babies and two pregnant women who had to be hospitalized in intensive care units (ICUs), she said.

Since Oct. 1, the total number of severe flu cases reported around Taiwan has climbed to 124, the second highest number in the past five flu seasons, Liu said.

The flu season in Taiwan typically starts in October, escalates around November, and reaches a peak by the end of the year or around the Lunar New Year which falls in late January to mid February, according to the CDC.

Infants and young children are at high risk of developing serious influenza-related complications, according to CDC Deputy Director-General Chuang Jen-hsiang (莊人祥). He advised that parents of children aged six months to three years ensure that they are vaccinated as soon as possible because it takes about two weeks for the vaccine to take effect.

(By Chang Ming-hsuan and Evelyn Kao)