Enterovirus infection reaches epidemic level: CDC

2018/06/12 20:52:55 fontsize-small fontsize-default fontsize-big
CNA file photo

CNA file photo

Taipei, June 12 (CNA) Enterovirus activity has reached its peak in Taiwan, with the number of patients seeking medical treatment for enterovirus infection around the country last week exceeding the epidemic threshold of 11,000, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

From June 3-June 9, a total of 11,968 patients sought outpatient or emergency treatment at hospitals and clinics for enterovirus infection around Taiwan, up 10.7 percent from the week before, according to CDC statistics released Tuesday.

During the week, two new cases of Echovirus 11 infection with severe complications in newborns were reported, including one baby girl who died a week after birth, CDC data shows.

Echovirus 11 has been responsible for the four severe cases of enterovirus infection in neonates this year, including two deaths, CDC data shows, indicating the current enterovirus outbreak is the worst since 2005 when 27 newborns were infected with the coxsackie B virus and developed severe complications that resulted in three deaths, CDC Deputy Director-General Philip Lo (羅一鈞) said.

Since 2003, seven cases of Echovirus 11 infection with severe complications have been confirmed, including four fatalities, meaning the death rate for severe Echovirus 11 cases is over 50 percent, Lo noted, adding that regardless of virus type, the fatality rate of severe enterovirus infections in newborns is 20-50 percent.

Children under the age of 5 are particularly susceptible to enterovirus, with some developing acute liver failure, encephalitis and multi-organ failure, according to Hsu Chyong-hsin (許瓊心), president of Taiwan Society of Neonatology.

Enterovirus infection can be passed vertically from mother to fetus/neonate through the birth canal. Postpartum infection occurs directly from human contact and indirectly from the fecal-oral route and respiratory secretions, Hsu said.

Expectant mothers should seek medical attention and inform doctors if they suffer from fever, upper respiratory tract infection, diarrhea, muscle pain or other symptoms related to enterovirus infection, 14 days before or after giving birth, Hsu advised.

(By Chen Wei-ting and Evelyn Kao)

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