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Taiwan CDC announces one H1N1-associated death and one severe H1N1 case in child; Taiwan CDC urges children aged below 3 to receive two doses of seasonal influenza

On December 29, 2010, the Taiwan Centers for Disease Control (Taiwan CDC) announced one more H1N1-associated death and one severe H1N1 case. As the reported severe H1N1 case and the two H1N1-associated deaths in children did not receive the H1N1 vaccine and the number of influenza cases in Taiwan has been on the rise, Taiwan CDC once again urges children aged below 3 and who have not been vaccinated against H1N1 to receive 2 doses of the seasonal influenza vaccine this year. Taiwan CDC points out an increase in the consultation rate for influenza-like illness at the emergency departments for three consecutive weeks and an increase in the numbers of severe influenza cases and influenza-associated deaths have been noted. The newly reported death was a 47-year-old Taiwanese male with a history of rheumatism who had not received any influenza vaccine. When H1N1 infection was confirmed in the case, the case was treated vigorously with antivirals in the intensive care unit. However, the case died one month after disease onset. The newly reported severe H1N1 case is a 2-year-old boy who received the seasonal influenza vaccine last year (2009), but has never received the H1N1 vaccine. Earlier in October, the boy received one dose of the seasonal influenza vaccine. Nevertheless, he still developed complications from influenza infection. Hence, to further protect children against the threats of H1N1, Taiwan CDC has decided to take experts’ advice and recommends children aged below 3 and who have never received influenza vaccine to receive two doses of the seasonal influenza vaccine and those aged below 3 and who have previously received the seasonal influenza vaccine, but never the H1N1 vaccine to receive two doses of the seasonal influenza vaccine. Taiwan CDC stresses that the World Health Organization (WHO) has recently announced that the currently circulating H1N1 virus strain is similar to the H1N1 virus strain circulating last year in terms of epidemiology and virology. In addition, Taiwan CDC has asked Chang Gung Children's Hospital to conduct a study concerning the rate of H1N1 antibody protection among the general population. According to the study, the rate of H1N1 antibody protection among the general public is close to 30% (29.9%) and that among children aged below 4 is below 30%, indicating that children are still vulnerable to the H1N1 virus and the virus continues to pose threat to children and young adults. Taiwan CDC once again urges the public to get vaccinated against H1N1 to protect themselves and their family. Further, as the seasonal influenza vaccine may run out, the public is advised to contact the contracted hospital administering the vaccine to check on the vaccine supply prior to visiting the hospital for vaccination. For more information concerning seasonal influenza vaccination, please visit the Taiwan CDC’s website: http://www.cdc.gov.tw/ or call the toll-free Communicable Disease Reporting and Consultation Hotline, 1922.


Source: Centers for Disease Control, R.O.C.(Taiwan)