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As cold front hits Taiwan, ILI consultation rate among children increases markedly; Taiwan CDC urges children to get flu shots

The Taiwan Centers for Disease Control (Taiwan CDC) says that the country has entered the peak flu season. The consultation rate for influenza-like illness (ILI) among children aged below 6 has increased significantly during the past three weeks by 23%. Since children are at higher risk for developing influenza-related complications such as pneumonia that require hospitalization when they catch influenza, parents are urged to get their children vaccinated against influenza. Taiwan CDC points out that the H1N1 virus is the dominant influenza virus strain currently circulating in the community in Taiwan. According to a study conducted in 2010, the rate of H1N1 antibody protection among children aged below 4 is below 30%, indicating that children are still vulnerable to the H1N1 virus. In July, 2010, about 1 to 2 in 100,000 children aged below 6 developed complications from influenza. Taiwan CDC states that vaccination is universally recognized as the single most effective and safe way to prevent influenza. In addition, the incidence rate of influenza among vaccinated children is only 18% and that among unvaccinated children is as high as 80%. Parents are urged not to underestimate the threat of influenza. Taiwan CDC also cautions that as children's immune systems are not fully developed yet, children are only capable of producing rather low level of antibodies. Therefore, children aged below 8 and who have never received influenza vaccine are recommended to receive two doses of the seasonal influenza vaccine to induce protective immune response. Taiwan CDC reminds that as Taiwan is located in the subtropical region, most people often mistake influenza for the common cold and fail to realize influenza and the related complications can be prevented. Hence, Taiwan CDC once again urges the public to get vaccinated against influenza 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)