Taipei, June 22 (CNA) A five-month old boy in Tainan, southern Taiwan, died of enterovirus this week, making him the first in the country to succumb to the contagious disease this year, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) said Friday.
The boy was treated for enterovirus after being admitted to a hospital June 11, but his condition quickly deteriorated and he died June 21, according to a press statement released by the CDC.
Lab results showed that the infant died of enterovirus 71 -- a virulent form of the disease. However, no-one else in his family was infected, the statement said.
The CDC also confirmed seven other new enterovirus cases, all of which were in children aged between eight months and four years. They were all discharged from hospital after treatment.
"This is the most serious enterovirus situation in Taiwan since 2008," said Deputy Health Minister Lin Tzou-yien at a press conference.
Citing department statistics, Lin said that while there were only 59 serious cases of enterovirus in 2011, 78 patients have already contracted the disease this year.
The last peak happened in 2008, when 373 serious cases, including 14 deaths, were reported, he added.
Lin reminded parents with children aged 5 and under to instill a strict and frequent hand-washing regime to reduce the risk of infection and to seek immediate medical attention should their children develop symptoms of drowsiness, fever, weakness, muscle spasm, vomiting or increased heartbeat.
(By Nancy Liu)