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Transmission of mycoplasma pneumoniae at low level in Taiwan: CDC

11/28/2023 10:39 PM
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CDC spokesperson Lo Yi-chun (left) attends a regular briefing in Taipei on Tuesday. CNA photo Nov. 28, 2023
CDC spokesperson Lo Yi-chun (left) attends a regular briefing in Taipei on Tuesday. CNA photo Nov. 28, 2023

Taipei, Nov. 28 (CNA) The transmission of influenza-like diseases in Taiwan has been on the decline since mid-September, while that of mycoplasma pneumoniae-caused illnesses is currently at a low level, despite an outbreak that has swept across China since May, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) said Tuesday.

An uptick in respiratory illness has not been seen in Taiwan and the number of flu-like infections reported dropped for the seventh consecutive week, CDC spokesperson Lo Yi-chun (羅一鈞) told a weekly news conference.

Mycoplasma pneumoniae has been detected in fewer than 1 percent of the flu-like infections identified by hospitals in Taiwan over the past month, Lo said, noting that seasonal influenza, adenoviruses and parainfluenza were currently more dominant.

However, Lo said more time is needed to observe whether mycoplasma pneumoniae will further spread across Taiwan as the mercury drops, as lower temperatures tend to lead to an uptick in respiratory infections.

Preventative measures have been stepped up at Taiwan's seaports and airports in a bid to keep mycoplasma pneumoniae at bay, he said, adding that the CDC, currently no plans to impose restrictions on movement during the Lunar New Year holiday period in February next year

Any adjustment to the rules would be based on the science, Lo said.

According to Chinese health authorities, neither a new type of mycoplasma pneumoniae nor mutations of the current strain have been detected.

Food and Drug Administration Deputy Director-General Chen Hui-fang (陳惠芳) said at the news conference that the supply of azithromycin, a drug used to treat bacterial infections -- including pneumonia -- is sufficient after reports of it being in short supply emerged.

Taiwan has imported a larger amount of the brand-name drug since late October, while local pharma companies have also been building up their own supplies of the generic drug, Chen said.

However, Yang Kuang-yao (陽光耀), a doctor in the Department of Chest Medicine at Taipei Veterans General Hospital, said the spread of mycoplasma pneumoniae in Taiwan could be being underestimated because of the reliance on hospital data.

Taiwan has long lacked a system to monitor mycoplasma pneumoniae, because most patients experience mild symptoms and are only likely to seek medical assistance at clinics, Yang explained.

He urged members of the public to seek out appropriate medical treatment if they develop suspicious respiratory issues.

(By Flor Wang, Tseng Yi-ning and Shen Pei-yao)


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