Rising Influenza Epidemic: Expert Recommendations and Prevention Measures

2023-09-19 06:48:40

CNEWS Convergence News Network reporter Chen Junkai/Reporting from Taipei

This year’s influenza epidemic has been fierce. It is rare that it has come all the way from summer. The Department of Disease Control and Prevention announced today (19th) that it is currently in the influenza epidemic period. The number of outpatient and emergency influenza-related visits last week reached 102,087, which has been on the rise for four consecutive weeks. , and there were 7 new deaths from severe influenza last week, reminding the public that if they have difficulty breathing, cyanosis and other dangerous signs of influenza, they should seek medical treatment as soon as possible.

Guo Hongwei, director of the Epidemic Center of the CDC, said that the number of cluster notifications of upper respiratory tract infections has also increased recently. A total of 65 cases were reported last Monday, of which 54 (83%) were notifications of school clusters, including 5 in kindergartens and 5 in elementary schools. 27 cases, 11 cases each in national and high schools, were mainly detected with influenza viruses; in the past four weeks, most of the isolation cases in the contract laboratory were influenza viruses, and type A H1N1 and H3N2 were co-circulating in the community.

Guo Hongwei pointed out that there were 35 new cases of severe influenza complications last week (20 cases of type A H1N1, 14 cases of type A H3N2, and 1 case of type B). The ages ranged from under 10 to over 80 years old, and the onset date was between August 27. As of September 17, 27 of the cases had chronic medical history and 31 had not received this season’s influenza vaccine; there were 7 new deaths (6 cases of type A H1N1 and 1 case of type A H3N2), ranging in age from their 50s to 80s. They were multiple years old, with onset dates between August 25 and September 11. All had chronic medical histories, and 4 of them had not received this season’s influenza vaccine.

As for the death cases, Lin Yongqing, an epidemic prevention physician at the CDC, said that the seven new deaths ranged in age from their 50s to their 80s, all with chronic medical history, and four of them had not received this season’s influenza vaccine. There have been a total of 156 deaths this epidemic season, 73% of which have not received this season’s influenza vaccine, and 94% have a history of chronic disease.

Lin Yongqing said that among the 35 new severe cases of influenza, 3 children under the age of 10 were all complicated by encephalitis. The youngest was a 1-year-old girl in the south who suddenly lost consciousness and had epileptic symptoms one week after developing influenza-like symptoms. After seeking medical treatment, the doctor suspected that he had encephalitis. After being admitted to the hospital, his condition improved and he was discharged successfully. Another 6-year-old boy in the middle of the country also suffered from confusion and unsteady gait after the onset of the disease. He has regained consciousness but is still hospitalized for observation. The last, an 8-year-old girl from the south, suffered from weakness in her lower limbs and was diagnosed with influenza complicated by encephalitis. She recovered and was discharged after medical treatment.

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The Department of Disease Control and Prevention calls on the current influenza epidemic to be on the rise. Most of the reports of clusters are in schools. Schools/kindergartens/cram schools/child after-school care service classes and centers are requested to pay special attention to prevention. Infection control measures: If you have difficulty breathing, shortness of breath, cyanosis (lack of oxygen) and other dangerous signs, please seek medical attention as soon as possible.

Photo source: CNEWS file photo/Photo by reporter Chen Junkai

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