Nine seasonal influenza deaths recorded in Taiwan last week

01/21/2020 11:01 PM
Liu Ting-ping, director of the CDC Epidemic Intelligence Center
Liu Ting-ping, director of the CDC Epidemic Intelligence Center

Taipei, Jan. 21 (CNA) Nine people died of seasonal influenza in Taiwan last week, bringing the death toll since Oct. 1, 2019 to 43, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) said Tuesday.

According to CDC statistics, from Jan. 12 to Jan. 18, a total of 115,527 people sought medical treatment for flu-like symptoms at hospitals and clinics around the country, a decrease of 7.9 percent from the previous week.

Of the patients, 93 were suffering from severe complications associated with the flu, bringing the total of such cases to 710, according to Liu Ting-ping (劉定萍), director of the CDC Epidemic Intelligence Center.

About 99 percent of the 710 patients had not received the flu vaccine, and nearly 80 percent had one or more chronic disease, Liu said, adding that none of the 43 patients who died from flu complications this season had been vaccinated.

According to CDC physician Lin Yung-ching (林詠青), the nine fatalities last week ranged from 40 to 79 years old, and were all diagnosed with the flu Type A H1N1 virus, the most common virus patients have been infected with this flu season.

Six of the patients had one or more chronic disease, Lin said.

As the flu and the new 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) have many overlapping symptoms, including fever, coughing, and fatigue, the key to differentiating the two is whether a patient has recently traveled to Wuhan, China, where the disease originated, Lin said.

Travelers coming back from Wuhan must notify the CDC if they have these symptoms within 14 days within returning to Taiwan, Lin said.

Taiwan reported its first confirmed case of 2019-nCoV Tuesday, carried by a Taiwanese woman who works in Wuhan and returned to the country Monday.

If anyone falls ill during the Lunar New Year holidays, when many clinics will be closed, patients should use the National Health Insurance Administration's website or app to find clinics and hospitals that are open, CDC Deputy Director-General Chuang Jen-hsiang (莊人祥) advised.

(By Chen Wei-ting and Chiang Yi-ching)

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