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Influenza cases on rise, cluster infections mainly in schools: CDC

09/19/2023 09:35 PM
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Centers for Disease Control official Kuo Hung-wei reports at a Tuesday press conference. CNA photo Sept. 19, 2023
Centers for Disease Control official Kuo Hung-wei reports at a Tuesday press conference. CNA photo Sept. 19, 2023

Taipei, Sept. 19 (CNA) Over 100,000 people visited the doctor with influenza-like symptoms and 65 cluster infection cases of upper respiratory tract infection (URTI) were reported last week, according to Taiwan's Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Tuesday.

At a press conference Tuesday, CDC official Kuo Hung-wei (郭宏偉) said a rise in influenza cases has been seen in recent days, with an increasing number of people visiting the doctor for influenza-like symptoms, with two influenza A viruses -- H1N1 and H3N2 -- dominating over the past four weeks.

He added that 54 of the 65 URTI cluster infection cases reported were in schools, with 5 cases in preschools, 27 in elementary schools, and 11 each in junior high schools and senior high schools.

According to CDC physician Lin Yung-ching (林詠青), there were seven deaths caused by influenza last week. All suffered from chronic diseases and died mainly from pneumonia-related complications.

Furthermore, 35 influenza cases with severe complications were reported last week, with 27 suffering from chronic cases while only four had been vaccinated this flu season, said the CDC.

Three of the 35 patients were under 10 years old, one being a six-year-old who suffered from complications from pneumonia and encephalitis. His condition improved after medical treatment though he remains in hospital, said Lin.

The other two patients are one-year old and eight-years old, both suffered from complications from encephalitis but have since been discharged from hospital, he added.

According to CDC statistics, 699 influenza cases with severe flu complications -- of which more than half were over 65 -- were reported from Oct. 1, 2022 to Sept. 18, 2023.

156 of the 699 died, with 94 percent suffering from chronic diseases and 73 percent having not received a vaccine shot.

(By Tseng Yi-ning and Bernadette Hsiao)


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