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Taiwan reports rare measles cluster

02/28/2024 05:59 PM
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Unsplash photo for illustrative purpose only.
Unsplash photo for illustrative purpose only.

Taipei, Feb. 28 (CNA) The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has reported a rare domestic measles cluster in Taiwan involving two people, after identifying a patient who contracted the disease from the index case at a northern Taiwan hospital.

The new case, a medical worker in his 30s, had been affected by dizziness, coughing and a rash since Feb. 24 before testing positive for the disease on Tuesday, CDC Deputy Director General Lo Yi-chun (羅一鈞) said Wednesday.

A total of 306 people have been identified as close contacts of the man, who is being isolated at home, Lo said.

Those contacts included four non-cohabiting family members and 302 others whose activities overlapped with the man's, Lo said.

The man visited the B2 food court in Terminal 2 of Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport on Feb. 22 and Liang's Rice Noodle Soup in New Taipei's Zhonghe District on Feb. 25, and people who were there should monitor their health until March 15, Lo said.

People at those locations may be vulnerable to catching the disease because the measles is contagious four days before and after a rash appears, Lo said.

Anyone who experiences a fever, rhinitis, conjunctivitis or a rash should quickly alert the health authorities to help reduce the spread of the virus, Lo said.

As to the index case (the first case in the cluster), a man in his 30s, some additional 100 individuals have been listed as his close contacts after an original 199 contacts were identified as of Feb. 19, according to Lo.

Taiwan has reported three measles cases so far this year -- the two local cases from the hospital cluster, and an imported case involving a foreign national who entered Taiwan on Feb. 20 from Malaysia -- Lo said.

Citing World Health Organization data, the CDC said that measles infections began to spike globally in 2023, with the most significant surge being reported in Europe due to a decreasing vaccination rate.

The continent reported over 58,000 measles cases last year, 62 times the number recorded in 2022, according to the CDC.

In Taiwan, there were two measles cases in 2023, recorded at separate times.

(By Tseng Yi-ning and Lee Hsin-Yin)

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