Eight seasonal influenza deaths recorded in Taiwan last week

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(CNA photo)

Eight people died of seasonal influenza in Taiwan last week, bringing the death toll since Oct. 1, 2019 to 34, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) said Tuesday.

According to CDC statistics, from Jan. 5 to Jan. 11, a total of 124,118 people sought medical treatment for flu-like symptoms at hospitals and clinics around the country, an increase of 7.6 percent from the previous week.

Among the patients, 118 people were suffering from severe complications associated with the flu virus. Of the cases, 80 percent were diagnosed with flu Type A H1N1 virus, according to the CDC.

CDC physician Lin Yung-ching (林詠青) said in the agency's weekly report that the eight fatalities included a 38-year-old man who had diabetes.

Medical records show that the man arrived at the emergency room with serious flu-like symptoms that led to cardiac arrest. He was initially resuscitated but later died from flu-related complications.

The man is the youngest fatality since the beginning of the current flu season in October 2019, according to Lin.

Lin noted that none of the eight individuals who died had been vaccinated.

Since October, a total of 617 people have been found to have severe complications associated with flu, with most 50 years old and above.

Ninety-nine percent of the 617 had not been vaccinated and 80 percent had one or more chronic disease, Lin noted.

To protect against flu, the CDC urged people to wash their hands regularly and advised those with respiratory symptoms to wear masks.

Other recommendations include avoiding close contact with others and refraining from visiting crowded or poorly ventilated public venues.

The best protection is to take the flu vaccine, the CDC stressed.

As of Tuesday, 1.21 million doses of government-funded flu vaccine are still available, said CDC Deputy Director-General Chuang Jen-hsiang (莊人祥).