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As enterovirus 71 epidemic yet to abate

and consultation rate for hand-foot-and-mouth disease continues to increase, healthcare professionals and caregivers of children aged below five years urged to remain vigilant Although winter has arrived in Taiwan, the EV71 epidemic has still not abated. On December 23, 2011, the Taiwan Centers for Disease Control (Taiwan CDC) announced one new case of enterovirus 71 infection with severe complications. The case is a three-year-and-five-month-old boy who resides in Hualien County. On December 2, the case began to develop symptoms pertaining to enterovirus infection, including fever and oral ulcer. Subsequently, he developed prodromal signs of complications, including decreased activity and myoclonus. Fortunately, he was promptly rushed to a large hospital for medical treatment. As of now, he has recovered and been discharged from the hospital. According to the epidemiological investigation, the case had contact with a sick child of family friends prior to disease onset. Taiwan CDC urges, 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, and resting at home when sick in order to reduce the risk of disease transmission and ensure speedy recovery. Thus far this year, all the 50 cases of enterovirus infection with severe complications, including three deaths in children, have been caused by EV71. The consultation rate for hand-foot-and-mouth disease caused by EV 71 has continued to increase. The epidemic remains rampant in the central and southern Taiwan. Other regions of Taiwan have also reported sporadic cases of enterovirus infection with severe complications. Taiwan CDC reminds the public that enterovirus transmission is facilitated by high population densities in Taiwan and frequent interaction among people. Hence, all healthcare professionals and families with children should remain vigilant against enterovirus. Taiwan CDC once again warns that enterovirus is highly contagious and the risk of transmission is higher at home and at 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, if the sick child develops suspected symptoms such as drowsiness, disturbed consciousness, inactivity, flaccid paralysis, myoclonic jerk, continuous vomiting, tachypnea, and tachycardia. Once the sick child experiences the aforementioned symptoms, please take the child to a large hospital for medical attention 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 Source:Centers for Disease Control, R.O.C.(Taiwan)