Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Taiwan's Late Season Flu Epidemic Appears To Have Peaked


Like Hong Kong, Taiwan has been dealing with an unusual late-season surge of influenza, albeit not as severe as that reported by the CHP (see Hong Kong's Summer Flu Surge Enters 9th Week) since early May. 
Unlike Hong Kong, Taiwan doesn't normally see a  biphasic or `double peaked' flu season, and usually follows the northern hemisphere pattern of a single  winter-spring flu epidemic.
Just over a week ago Taiwan's CDC reported influenza cases - for the 8th week running - continued to rise and hospital ER's were clogged with flu cases.  As in Hong Kong, the predominant strain has been seasonal H3N2, with a smattering of H1N1 and influenza B infections.

Today Taiwan's CDC reports a modest decline in cases, and while still at epidemic levels, suggests thier summer surge may have finally peaked. They also report 11 influenza-related deaths over the past week, including a 16 year old.

The following (translated) press release is dated 2017-07-11.

Domestic and mild influenza epidemic has shown a downward trend cluster, but is still epidemic, inviting the public to continue to maintain good health habits
Disease Control Department, said last week domestic total flu-door emergency department visits decreased from the previous week, the number of cluster members also informed the third consecutive weekly decline, showing mild flu epidemic reversal, the epidemic is expected to gradually slow down; but continued have developed into severe cases diagnosed, reminding people still can not be ignored epidemic, should maintain good hygiene, when respiratory symptoms should wear masks, sneezing, cover mouth and nose with a handkerchief or a sleeve in place to implement the sick rest at home; such as flu danger signs appear, please seek medical treatment as soon as possible to reduce complicated by severe risk.

The Program disease monitoring data show that domestic influenza-door emergency attendances in the first decline since May, last week (July 2 to July 8) attendances (119,543 people) fell 6.7 percent from a week (128,190 passengers) ago ; in addition, upper respiratory / flu-like cluster from a total of 29 reported cases, the number of notifications fell for three consecutive weeks; of which 20 cases tested positive for influenza, mainly in the densely populated mechanism (18 cases). Laboratory monitoring data show that community not to H3N2 pandemic virus type-based, B-type influenza flu virus detected in only about 8%, nearly four weeks antigen monitoring data show that 95% H3N2 virus this flu season vaccine strains match.

Last week, add another 124 cases of influenza complicated by severe determine cases, primary infection typed as H3N2; 11 new cases of severe deaths, cases of onset between the ages of 16 to 88 years, have a history of chronic disease, infection typed in 9 cases H3N2,1 Example Example B and one H1N1 type.
July 1, 2016 to date a total of 983 cases of influenza complicated by severe determine cases, 97 deaths. At present mild flu epidemic has passed the highest point, but there are still some cases of severe disease evolution; in accordance with the trend of the epidemic over the years, the number of new cases of severe expected to gradually decline as the mild epidemic began to wane.

Disease tubes are reminded once again, publicly funded influenza antiviral agents to expand the use conditions apply during the extended until July 31, people are subject to flu-like symptoms, go to the neighboring publicly funded influenza antiviral agent contract clinics, hospital emergency room to avoid concentration Tai, who physician-determined treatment conditions comply with public funds, without rapid screening, may require the use of public funds by antiviral agents; but, dyspnea, shortness of breath, cyanosis (hypoxic), bloody sputum, or sputum rich, changing chest pain, consciousness, low blood pressure and other signs of flu dangerous person, then as soon as possible to large hospital for treatment. Information available to the Agency WWW tube disease "influenza Zone" (http://www.cdc.gov.tw), or call toll-free vaccination Line 1922 (or 0800-001922) contact.

The most current Influenza Express Surveillance Report (week 26) from Taiwan reflects this recent downward trend.

Although the timing and severity of Taiwan and Hong Kong's outbreaks are a bit unusual, we've seen nothing to suggest anything out of the ordinary about the viruses being reported by local health officials.
They do serve to remind us that even ordinary seasonal flu can pack quite a punch, and is far from a trivial illness. 
We will  continue to keep a close eye on both outbreaks and on Australia's upcoming flu season, as they may provide us with some hint as to what to expect next fall in the Northern Hemisphere.

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