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First imported case of measles from New Zealand confirmed

2019/09/17 18:35

CNA file photo

Taipei, Sept. 17 (CNA) The first imported case of measles from New Zealand has recently been confirmed in Taiwan, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) said Tuesday, warning Taiwanese visitors to the country to be on alert and to consider getting vaccinated.

The male patient in his 20s sought medical attention after he developed flu-like symptoms, including high fever, in early September, after he returned from a trip to New Zealand in August, according to the CDC.

He had visited local clinics three times and had been admitted to a hospital emergency room, but the medication he received did not alleviate his symptoms, as doctors diagnosed him with influenza, according to CDC Deputy Director-General Lo Yi-chun (羅一鈞).

The patient was finally diagnosed with measles when he was admitted to a second hospital, according to Lo.

Signs and symptoms of measles typically include fever, dry cough, runny nose, sore throat and inflamed eyes.

The patient has since regained his health and has been discharged, Lo said.

None of the family members and friends who accompanied him on the New Zealand trip had shown any signs and symptoms of contracting measles so far, he added.

The CDC is also monitoring the health of 601 individuals with whom the patient had been in contact since he returned to Taiwan, he noted.

Lo explained that in this particular case, many doctors were unable to successfully made the measles diagnosis because they were not familiar with the fact that there is a measles outbreak in New Zealand.

According to the CDC, 1,275 people in New Zealand have been infected between Jan. 1 and Sept. 13, making it New Zealand's worst measles epidemic since 1997.

The outbreak is mainly concentrated around the country's biggest city, Auckland, in the North Island, with 1,007 of the confirmed cases reported there, the CDC said.

Considering the surge in confirmed measles case numbers in New Zealand, the CDC issued a level 1 travel warning last week for the country and advised anyone planning to visit to make sure they are fully vaccinated two to four weeks before departure.

A level 1 travel warning advises that precautions should be taken when visiting countries listed, for example by obtaining the relevant vaccinations.

CDC physician Huang Wan-ting (黃婉婷) said children under 1-year-old are advised to be given measles vaccine before visiting New Zealand. People born after 1981 are also advised to be revaccinated because their immunity can wane over time, she added.

As of Tuesday, there were 127 confirmed measles cases in Taiwan, 49 of them imported. Most of the imported cases came from Vietnam, Thailand and the Philippines, according to CDC statistics.

(By Chen Wei-ting and Joseph Yeh) Enditem/J