Taipei, Jan. 5 (CNA) Taiwan's Centers for Disease Control (CDC) said Sunday that it has expanded the conditions for notification of suspected cases of an unconfirmed respiratory virus.
The move is the latest preventive measure the CDC has taken against a cluster of respiratory infections that have been reported in the Chinese city of Wuhan.
Doctors and airport quarantine officials must notify the CDC when they encounter a patient who has traveled to Wuhan in the past 14 days and presents with a fever and symptoms of upper respiratory tract infection.
Previously, they only had to notify the CDC if a patient met one of two requirements; either the patient had a fever, symptoms of pneumonia and had traveled to Wuhan, or they had a fever, symptoms of upper respiratory tract infection and had been to the Huanan Seafood Market, where a number of those infected in Wuhan reportedly worked as vendors.
The CDC announced the new measure at a press conference after CDC Deputy Director-General Chuang Jen-hsiang (莊人祥) met with 17 experts.
The experts said that since not everyone infected by the virus will have symptoms of pneumonia, it was necessary to expand the conditions for notification and ensure that all suspected cases are screened, according to Yang Ching-hui (楊靖慧), a CDC division chief.
Suspected cases will undergo screening for 26 viruses, including viruses that cause SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome) and MERS (Middle East respiratory syndrome), and additional screening items could be added based on the development of the situation in Wuhan, Yang said.
On Friday, China's Wuhan Municipal Health Commission issued a press release noting that a total of 44 cases of the virus had been reported there, of which 11 were considered serious.
An additional 121 close contacts of those being treated for the virus have been placed under medical observation, and the city's Huanan Seafood Market, where some of the patients worked, has been closed, the commission said.