Taiwan health department warns of Enterovirus outbreak

Last week alone, a total of 419 patients sought out emergency treatment at hospitals for enterovirus infection..

(By Central News Agency)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News)- Taipei City’s Department of Health on Monday warned of an Enterovirus outbreak this spring, and urged the public to practice good personal hygiene to prevent infection.

Enterovirus infections are common among infants and children and usually peak in spring and summer months, especially between April and June, the department said. 

In Taiwan, Enterovirus outbreaks occur approximately every 3 to 4 years. In 2005, the nation reported 142 cases of Enterovirus infection with severe complications, in 2008 there were 373, and in 2012 a total of 153 cases were reported.

Last week alone, a total of 419 patients sought out emergency treatment at hospitals for enterovirus infection, almost 70 percent higher than the average number for the previous four weeks, according to government data.

The Director of the city’s health department Huang Shih-chieh (黃世傑) stressed  Monday that Enteroviruses are highly contagious, and infants and children aged below 5 are more susceptible to the infection and more at risk for severe complications.           

The Enteroviruses are spread from person to person by coughs, sneezes, or by touching objects or surfaces that have the virus on them. Therefore, practicing good personal hygiene – washing hands regularly and thoroughly with soap and water – is the best and most important way to prevent from getting and spreading the infectious disease, the department said.

Huang also advised parents to watch for prodromal signs of severe complications in children with enterovirus infection to ensure prompt treatment, including drowsiness, fever, chills, headache, disturbed consciousness, inactivity, flaccid paralysis, myoclonic jerk, continuous vomiting, tachypnea, and tachycardia.