At a time when the world is panicking over a 2019-nCoV coronavirus outbreak, the H1N1 flu virus is actually posing a greater threat in Taiwan, claiming 13 lives in the country in just one week, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).
At a weekly meeting Friday, CDC Deputy Director-General Chuang Jen-hsiang (莊人祥) said 116,705 people sought medical treatment for flu-like symptoms at hospitals across the country over the past week, including 61 more confirmed flu cases.
The H1N1 virus, commonly known as swine flu, is currently the main source of flu infections in residential communities in Taiwan, accounting for 84.5 percent of the total, Chung said, and it will take one more week to determine whether flu infections have peaked or not.
Over the last week, 13 people aged between 47-97 years old died of the seasonal flu, including a women aged over 80, a cancer and chronic pneumonia patient, CDC physician Lin Yung-ching (林詠青) said.
According to Lin, the woman developed a fever in late December and then suffered from acute shortness of breath within just four days, eventually dying of pneumonia and respiratory failure when rushed to the hospital.
She was the only one of the 13 people who have died of the H1N1 virus to have received a flu vaccine.
From Oct. 1 through Jan. 25, there were 771 serious infections mainly caused by the HIN1 virus, including 56 flu-related deaths, CDC data showed.