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As enterovirus epidemic yet to abate and Taiwan CDC announces two new cases of enterovirus 71 infection with severe complications, public urged to pay attention to personal hygiene and precursor symptoms of enterovirus infection with severe complications in children

Source:Centers for Disease Control, R.O.C.(Taiwan) Although it is winter in Taiwan now, the threat of enterovirus 71 has continued to persist. On January 13, 2012, the Taiwan Centers for Disease Control (Taiwan CDC) announced two new cases of enterovirus 71 infection with severe complications. The cases respectively are a one-year-and-seven-month-old boy who resides in Taichung City and a one-year-and-three-month-old boy who resides in Tainan City. On January 2 and 5, 2012, they respectively developed symptoms pertaining to enterovirus infection, including fever, oral ulcer, rashes on limbs. Fortunately, they were both promptly rushed to a large hospital for medical treatment. As of now, they are both in stable conditions. Taiwan CDC urges both adults and children should develop good personal hygiene habits such as washing hands properly, seeking medical attention immediately when sick, and resting at home when sick in order to reduce the risk of disease transmission. According to Taiwan CDC, the two cases sought medical attention at a large hospital after developing symptoms of enterovirus infection, including fever, oral ulcer, rashes on limbs, and prodromal signs of complications, including hypersomnia, decreased activity, tachycardia, and unsteady gait in early January and they are currently stable. According to the epidemiological investigation, these cases have had contact with older children in their families who were diagnosed with enterovirus infection prior to their disease onset. Therefore, it is suspected that the cases became infected by their family members. Nevertheless, Taiwan CDC advises both adults and children can become infected with enterovirus. Adults and older children usually experience mild or no symptoms, but even if that is the case they are still infectious and a source of transmission to infants and young children. In the face of the EV71 epidemic, both adults and children should develop good personal hygiene habits such as washing hands properly, seeking medical attention immediately when sick, resting at home when sick, and avoiding contact with infants and young children when sick in order to reduce the risk of disease transmission. According to the surveillance data compiled by Taiwan CDC, all 57 cases of enterovirus infection with severe complications, including three deaths in children, reported last year were caused by EV71. Thus far, two cases of enterovirus infection with severe complications have been reported this year. Taiwan CDC warns since no large-scale outbreak of EV71 has occurred in Taiwan for more than three years, most children below the age of three have not developed the antibody against enterovirus 71, and the likelihood of a large-scale outbreak of EV71 to occur this year around March to April is getting high. Taiwan CDC advises that the threat of enterovirus infection remains and households with infants and young children should be more vigilant against enterovirus. Taiwan CDC once again warns that enterovirus is highly contagious and the risk of transmission is higher at home and school, including kindergarten, child care centers and student care centers. Infants and children under the age of 5 are at the highest risk for complications. When a child in a household is diagnosed with enterovirus infection, please refrain the sick child from close contact with other children. The excrement (feces, nasal and oral secretions) of the patient shall be handled with care, and parents shall immediately wash their hands after disposing of them. In addition, parents are urged to pay close attention to the symptoms of the sick child. Once the sick child develops suspected symptoms such as drowsiness, disturbed consciousness, inactivity, flaccid paralysis, myoclonic jerk, continuous vomiting, tachypnea, and tachycardia, please take the child to a large hospital immediately in order to ensure prompt treatment. For more information about enterovirus, please call the toll-free Communicable Disease Reporting and Consultation Hotline, 1922, operated by Taiwan CDC or visit the Taiwan CDC website at http://www.cdc.gov.tw/english/index.aspx