Enterovirus cases continue to rise: Taiwan CDC

The epidemic might have yet to reach its annual peak.

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(By Central News Agency)

Taiwan's weekly enterovirus case reports continued to increase last week, breaching the 11,000 mark, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) said Tuesday, which suggests that the epidemic might have yet to reach its annual peak.

Between May 26 and June 1, a total of 11,007 patients sought outpatient or emergency treatment at hospitals for enterovirus infection around Taiwan, up from 9.3 percent (10,236 cases) recorded the previous week, said Kuo Hung-wei (郭宏偉), deputy chief of the CDC's Epidemic Intelligence Center.

Cases of the disease were most prevalent in Yilan County, Taoyuan, Miaoli County, Yunlin County, Chiayi City, Pingtung County, Hualien County and Taitung County, according to the CDC's weekly monitoring data.

The types of enterovirus infections that have been identified this year are the type 71 (EV71), coxsackievirus EV68, coxsackievirus A9, coxsackievirus A10, coxsackievirus B5 and echovirus type 11, Kuo said.

Among them, cases of the EV71 virus have been on the rise over the past four weeks, he said.

CDC physician Huang Wan-ting (黃婉婷) said the EV71 virus is a neurological disease that attacks the nervous system and infants under the age of 5 are at higher risk of developing severe complications from this type of infection.

In extreme cases, EV71 can cause polio-like permanent paralysis, according to the CDC.

Parents are advised to seek medical attention if their children display symptoms of fever, upper respiratory tract infection, diarrhea, numbness or other symptoms related to enterovirus infection, she said.