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China-bound tourists cautioned about spread of influenza-like illness: CDC

11/24/2023 10:35 PM
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CDC spokesperson Lo Yi-chun (left) presents at a press conference in Taipei Friday. CNA photo Nov. 24, 2023
CDC spokesperson Lo Yi-chun (left) presents at a press conference in Taipei Friday. CNA photo Nov. 24, 2023

Taipei, Nov. 24 (CNA) People who are traveling to China are advised to pay attention to their hygiene as respiratory illness in children in the country's northern region continues to spread, the Taiwan Centers for Disease Control (CDC) said on Friday.

At a press conference held in the afternoon, CDC Director General Lo Yi-chun (羅一鈞) pointed out that there has been an increase in the reported cases of influenza-like illness for five weeks in a row in China's northern provinces.

Such cases accounted for 6.2 percent of all reported cases at local hospitals, representing a 2.5-fold increase over the same period during the previous three years, Lo added.

The Chinese authorities reported to the World Health Organization (WHO) on Nov. 13 an increase in incidence of respiratory diseases, Lo said, citing a statement issued by the WHO, saying that the Chinese authorities attributed the surge to "the lifting of the pandemic restrictions and the circulation of known pathogens."

By known pathogens, they meant flu, mycoplasma pneumoniae, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), etc., Lo said.

Lo added that the CDC will keep a keen eye on the latest developments and that people who plan to go to China could get vaccinated against the flu prior to their trip, given that 20 percent of the reported cases were caused by flu.

In addition, travelers are advised to wash their hands frequently, wear a face mask and avoid visiting crowded places, Lo said.

(By Tseng Yi-ning and Chao Yen-hsiang)

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