Year's first case of whooping cough confirmed: CDC

02/14/2020 08:01 PM
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Chuang Jen-hsiang (莊人祥), deputy-director of Taiwan
Chuang Jen-hsiang (莊人祥), deputy-director of Taiwan's Centers for Disease Control.

Taipei, Feb. 14 (CNA) A man in his 40s from northern Taiwan has been confirmed as this year's first case of pertussis, also known as whooping cough, Taiwan's Centers for Disease Control (CDC) said Friday.

In a statement, the CDC said the man visited Shenzhen, China, at the end of last year, returned to Taiwan on Jan. 10 and began suffering from a cough on Jan. 30.

After undergoing testing on Feb. 5, the man's diagnosis was confirmed on Feb. 11, and he has since made a complete recovery. His three immediate family members have not shown any signs of having been infected, the CDC said.

The health agency warned that whooping cough, which is spread via airborne droplets, is highly contagious, and causes symptoms including a runny nose, fever and severe coughing fits.

In rare cases, specifically among infants under six months of age, complications from the disease can lead to pneumonia, brain lesions and even death, the statement said.

According to CDC statistics, the number of year-to-date cases in 2020 is comparable with the 1-5 confirmed cases seen during the first seven weeks of the years from 2016 to 2019.

The number of annual cases ranged from 17-34 during that period, the CDC said, and 56 percent of cases during that period occurred in infants who had not yet reached the vaccination age or had received only one dose of the vaccine.

Another 26 percent of the cases occurred in adults over the age of 20, the CDC said.

To prevent the spread of the disease, Taiwan's national health insurance program offers the multi-dose vaccine to infants and children at two, four, six and eighteen months and five years of age, the CDC said.

(By Chen Wei-ting and Matthew Mazzetta)

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