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Adenovirus cases in Taiwan on the rise, outbreak remains possible

2019/11/12 18:13:19

Pixabay photo for illustrative purposes only

Taipei, Nov. 12 (CNA) The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) warned Tuesday of a possible outbreak of adenovirus-related illnesses in November, after reported cases rose over the past two weeks.

Adenoviruses are a group of viruses that typically cause respiratory illnesses, such as the common cold, conjunctivitis (an infection in the eye that is sometimes called pink eye), croup, bronchitis and pneumonia.

In children, adenoviruses usually cause infections in the respiratory tract.

CDC Deputy Director-General Lo Yi-chun (羅一鈞) said Tuesday that the number of patients diagnosed with an adenovirus over the past two weeks passed the number of patients treated for influenza for the first time this year.

Adenoviruses typically account for 15-17 percent of patients treated for respiratory virus infections in Taiwan, but data from the past two weeks shows the number has risen to about 40 percent, suggesting an outbreak is likely imminent, Lo said.

In the week ending Nov. 9, a total of 69,396 people sought outpatient and emergency treatment for flu-like symptoms at hospitals and clinics in Taiwan, slightly higher than the 66,776 the week before, according to CDC statistics.

Adenoviruses can cause fever though without the symptoms of tiredness or feeling weak, Lo said, assuring the public that it is not life threatening.

However, children with poor immune systems or people with heart and lung diseases are vulnerable to severe adenovirus complications, he added.

The CDC official said adenoviruses are a contagious airborne disease and people are advised to practice good hygiene to prevent them spreading. Also, anyone with a respiratory illness should wear a surgical mask, he said.

(By Chen Wei-ting and Ko Lin)
Enditem/AW