First 2 cases of imported measles this year confirmed in Taiwan, over 300 exposed

2 Taiwanese men contract measles after traveling to Vietnam, Philippines, over 300 exposed

(Image from CDC)

(Image from CDC)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) -- Two Taiwanese men were confirmed to have contracted the measles after traveling to Vietnam and the Philippines, marking the first two cases of imported measles this year in Taiwan, exposing over 300, announced the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) on Wednesday (Jan. 16).

The two men, who are in their 30s (hereinafter referred to as patient 1 and patient 2), had traveled to Vietnam and the Philippines, respectively, in late December of last year. After returning home, they became ill on Jan. 7 and Jan. 8 of this year, and on Jan. 11 rashes appeared. On Jan. 16, both men were diagnosed with the measles, and patient 1 is currently recuperating at home while patient 2 is being hospitalized.

CDC Deputy Director General Lo Yi-chun (羅一鈞) told CNA that 118 people had come in contact with patient 1. He had eaten at Huangdi Ling Restaurant (皇帝嶺餐廳), and took part in a company Lunar New Year banquet in Taoyuan City's Zhongli District on the evening of Jan. 12, therefore, all employees have been told to beware of symptoms of the disease.

As for patient 2, 216 people came in contact him, but none have yet to exhibit symptoms. Those who came in contact with patient 2 will be closely monitored for symptoms until Feb. 2.

Both patients had visited public places during the infectious period, including the Minquan branch of the Liubiju Chaozhao Congee Restaurant (六必居潮州一品沙鍋粥) at 7:30 p.m. on Jan. 7 in New Taipei City's Banqiao District; Chungho Vegetarian Restaurant (綠食代素食) at 6:30 p.m. on Jan. 11; and Huangdi Ling Restaurant on Jan. 12.

Measles virus. (Wikimedia Commons image)

Lo told CNA that those people who have been to the places mentioned need to monitor themselves for symptoms for 18 days from the date of contact. If they develop suspicious symptoms, such as fever, rhinitis, conjunctivitis, cough, and rashes, then they are advised to wear a surgical mask and see a doctor as soon as possible.

Two imported cases of measles were reported last year. From 2015 to 2019, a total of 91 cases of measles, 33 of which were imported from abroad, with the most coming from China at nine, while the rest were from neighboring Asian countries.

The Philippines had 17,300 cases as of November of last year, 4.7 times more than the same period in 2017. Vietnam's epidemic also rose in December of last year, with more than 2,000 cases reported for 2018, more than 10 times the number seen in 2017, while 60 cases have been reported in the first week of this year in Ho Chi Minh City alone.

Lo told the news agency that the measles season is currently at its peak and reminds people to have their children receive the MMR (measles, mumps, rubella) vaccine. Lo also advises against taking children under the age of one or those who have not been vaccinated to areas where measles is endemic.

The CDC advises members of the general public (especially adults born after 1981) who plan to travel to areas where measles is endemic to first consult with a physician and evaluate the need for an MMR vaccination two to four weeks before going abroad.