Taiwan residents urged to be on alert for epidemics in Japan, SE Asia during LNY holiday

Japan has reported a rising number of cases of rubella, syphilis and other diseases



TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – The public are advised to keep vigilant against epidemics currently plaguing a number of areas if they are planning a trip to foreign countries during the Lunar New Year holiday.

According to the Center for Disease Control, incidents of mosquito-borne diseases are rising in Southeast Asia, South Asia, the Caribbean, South America, and Africa, including dengue fever, malaria, Chikungunya fever, and Zika virus.

People are cautioned to watch out for a number of infectious diseases in Japan, one of the most popular destinations for people of Taiwan. The East Asian country has reported outbreaks of rubella, syphilis, and fifth disease (Erythema infectiosum).

A surge of fifth disease cases has been reported in Japan since last October. It is a childhood disease, with symptoms spanning fever, rash, headache, coughing, and a running nose. It is transmitted primarily by respiratory secretions.

The risk of contracting influenza is also on the rise across areas of Japan, Hong Kong, China, and Singapore, mostly caused by H1N1 strain of influenza A virus. Other subtypes of A virus, such as H7N9, H5N6, and H9N2, are endemic in multiple regions of China.

The number of cases of measles -- the highly contagious infectious disease – are unusually high this year. Affected countries include China, South Korea, Vietnam, Thailand, the Philippines, Indonesia, India, Ukraine, Serbia, Romania, Greece, France, Italy, Russia, Georgia, Venezuela, and Brazil.

The CDC has called on the public to keep aware of the latest epidemic monitoring information, available at its website, and to seek medical advice before traveling abroad.

Fifth disease patient (Photo/National Institute of Infectious Diseases, Japan)