Enterovirus cases hit record high in Taiwan: CDC

A child infected with a kind of intestinal virus, identified as enterovirus 71, or EV71, receives medical treatment at a hospital.
PHOTO: Enterovirus cases hit record high in Taiwan: CDC

TAIPEI - The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) yesterday said the number of enterovirus patients that visited emergency rooms last week has reached a new record high for this year, adding that the situation of the contagious enterovirus is escalating.

The CDC further explained that 752 enterovirus patients have taken emergency treatments last week, which the number of patients is 40 per cent more compared with two weeks ago.

The centre said that over 10,000 children under the age of five have visited clinics for treatment over the past week, adding that the CDC expects the number of young patients will continue to increase.

A total of 158 classes in elementary schools across the country have been suspended due to the nation entering the season when enterovirus becomes prevalent, the CDC said.

CDC official Liu Ting-ping said that according to the CDC's statistics, the epidemic period of enterovirus has come to its peak, noting that the medical cases that have been detected recently are mainly infected with coxsackievirus A10 and A2 - strains of enterovirus.

Liu went on to say that besides Taiwan, the situation of enterovirus abroad is also escalating. She said the number of enterovirus patients in mainland China has nearly doubled compared with the same period last year.

In Shannxi Province over 12,000 people have been infected with enterovirus 71 - a strain that can easily lead to serious complications, Liu said.

Over 17,400 enterovirus cases have been recorded in Vietnam this year, Liu said, adding that the cases are mainly centred in Southern Vietnam, including Ho Chi Minh City.

In Thailand there are over 10,838 enterovirus patients so far, the official said, noting that the number of patients in Thailand this year is also more than the same period of time last year.

Liu added that over 60 per cent of the patients are boys aged between one and two years old.

The CDC reminded people to put more emphasis on personal hygiene, warning that infants and children aged below five are at increased risk of developing enterovirus infections with severe complications.

Furniture, toys and items that are often touched by children should be sterilized more often, the CDC suggested.

As soon as a child show suspected symptoms of the virus, such as persistent fever, drowsiness, inactivity or continuous vomiting, the child should be taken to the hospital for further diagnosis, the CDC said.