Taiwan CDC: 7 new deaths as a result of flu infections

Among those who recently passed away was a 4-year-old girl

Vaccines are still publicly available (Image by Joint Base Andrews)

Vaccines are still publicly available (Image by Joint Base Andrews)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Centers for Disease Control (CDC) announced today seven more people have died this season due to flu-related complications.

One of the seven was a four-year-old girl who suffered both encephalitis and pneumonia after contracting the H1N1 strain of the influenza virus. The girl passed away just two days after she began to exhibit symptoms.

CNA interviewed CDC Deputy Director Dr. Yi-jun Luo (羅一鈞) Friday afternoon. The doctor said the flu epidemic should not be ignored and immediate action ought to be taken at the first sign of serious symptoms.

The girl reportedly caught a fever Jan. 22 and began vomiting and exhibiting fatigue the next day, after which she was rushed to hospital. An MRI scan revealed her brain was inflamed and bleeding.

Doctors were unable to save her.

The other six who recently passed away were aged between 52 and 93, and all had a history of chronic illness. Of the seven in total, six contracted the H1N1 strain and one contracted the H3N2 flu virus.

The number of new influenza cases among populations in the world’s northern hemisphere has increased dramatically over the past few weeks, said Dr. Luo.

Four children in Taiwan have died this season after contracting the H1N1 virus, he commented. Dr. Luo said parents should watch their children closely if they develop a cold, and be on the lookout for more serious developments like vomiting, twitching and loss of consciousness.

Statistics show the morality rate of children who develop encephalitis after contracting influenza is 30 percent. Dr Luo reminded the public that the condition develops rapidly, but vaccines are publicly available for protection.

As of Feb. 1, 57 cases of influenza with serious complications have been detected this season, CNA reports, the majority of which were A types including H1N1, which tends to strike people aged 65 and over the hardest.

A total of 406 cases with serious complications have been recorded since Oct. 1 2018 and 34 people have died, according to CNA.

The risk of contracting flu runs particularly high around the Lunar New Year, and the CDC reminds citizens to take extra care of their health and hygiene, rest frequently, and reduce the risk of contagion as much as possible.