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Taiwan CDC warns travelers to China of flu-like outbreak

Spike in respiratory illnesses, especially among children, reported in northern China

Taiwan CDC Director Luo Yi-chun spoke to the press on Friday, Nov. 24.

Taiwan CDC Director Luo Yi-chun spoke to the press on Friday, Nov. 24. (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Taiwan’s Center for Disease Control (CDC) issued a warning for those traveling to China on Friday (Nov. 24) following reports of a respiratory disease outbreak with influenza-like symptoms.

Over the past month, there have been many reports of “pneumonia clusters” in China’s northeast, particularly around Beijing and Liaoning.

At a Friday press conference, the director of Taiwan’s CDC, Lo Yi-chun (羅一鈞), advised travelers going to China to wash their hands frequently, wear a face mask, and avoid visiting crowded public areas, reported CNA.

In response to reports of a spike in respiratory illnesses, the World Health Organization requested information on the illness from Beijing earlier this week. The Chinese authorities, who have a reputation for lacking transparency, replied promptly that “no unusual pathogens” have been detected among patients.

Reports indicate the respiratory illness has spread rapidly among children in the affected areas, and that many children’s hospitals have been overcrowded in recent weeks. The number of cases reported by hospitals in the affected regions suggests that the number of respiratory illnesses has increased 2.5 times more than the same period over the previous three years, reported CNA.

Following on the heels of the COVID-19 pandemic, the reports out of China have caused public concern. Taiwanese authorities are remaining very cautious and will continue to monitor how the outbreak in China develops.

Travelers going to China are also encouraged to be vaccinated for the flu before their departure, per the CDC.