Taiwan reports first domestic measles case of 2024
Taiwan reports its first domestic measles case of 2024, with a man in his 30s testing positive in the Northern part of the country. The Centers for Disease Control are investigating possible sources of infection and monitoring 199 individuals who had contact with the patient. Vaccination is urged, especially for infants older than one year.
Flu emergency visits decline amidst high vaccination rates
This year’s flu season during the Lunar New Year has been relatively mild, potentially due to higher flu vaccination rates and continued mask-wearing, according to Philip Lo, the Deputy Director-General and spokesperson for the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). Typically, flu cases surge before and after the Lunar New Year, with the second day of the new year being the busiest for emergency rooms. Despite higher numbers in recent years, this year’s figures are considered mild compared to the pre-pandemic period. On the second day of the Lunar New Year, 6,787 individuals sought emergency care for flu-like symptoms. In previous years, the corresponding numbers were 4,313 in 2023, 1,564 in 2022, 2,458 in 2021, 9,240 in 2020, and 7,983 in 2019. Lo emphasized the need to monitor the potential impact of large gatherings as schools reopen and the travel season begins. In terms of vaccine stock, there are still 82,000 doses of the flu vaccine available, along with 226,000 doses of the Novavax COVID-19 vaccine and 4.38 million doses of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine. Lo urged eligible individuals to get vaccinated promptly to enhance their protection.
Taiwan battles decade-high flu epidemic with over 127K cases
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reported a high flu epidemic, with 127,000 emergency visits due to influenza-like illnesses caused by adenoviruses and influenza viruses. In the span of a week, there were 42 new severe flu complications, including cases of Type A H1N1, Type A H3N2, and Type B. The patients ranged in age from less than 10 years old to over 90 years old, with 30 cases where influenza vaccinations were not received. Eleven deaths were reported during this period, with victims from Type A H1N1, Type A H3N2, and Type B influenza. Eight of the fatalities did not receive flu vaccinations, and the youngest death was a 7-year-old girl from the north, making her the youngest fatality of 2024.
CDC provides COVID-19 test kits tests at Taoyuan Airport
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has begun distributing COVID-19 rapid test kits to travelers at Taoyuan International Airport in Taipei. The kits are available in the reception areas and exit halls of both terminals, and each traveler is eligible to receive one kit regardless of age. The decision was made in response to the increasing rates of respiratory diseases worldwide. The CDC Deputy Director-General, Philip Lo, stated that the peak of the COVID-19 surge in Taiwan is expected to be in mid-to-late January, with a possible rise after the Lunar New Year holidays. Travelers have expressed appreciation for the policy, with many noting how thoughtful and helpful the Taiwanese government is. The distribution of test kits may continue after the Lunar New Year holidays, depending on the international and domestic pandemic conditions.
Premier Chen defends Medigen vaccine confidentiality deal
Premier Chen Chien-jen discusses the pricing process and confidentiality agreements surrounding Medigen vaccines, stating that negotiations with the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) are ongoing. As a publicly listed company, any decisions about publicizing the government contract require shareholders’ approval. Chen emphasizes the government’s belief in vaccination as the best measure against the pandemic. Medigen had positive results from phase one trials and clinical experiments, leading to phase two development. The World Health Organization (WHO) conducted unity trials with four other countries after being unable to proceed with phase three trials due to Taiwan’s low COVID-19 case statistics. Chen disputes rumors about a 30-year embargo on clinical results, calling it fake news and clarifying that all official documents have a preservation period. He also refutes accusations that over a thousand Medigen shareholders are members of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), calling them ＂imaginary numerical figures.＂ Chen hopes to disclose the information as soon as possible to maintain public trust, but it can only happen after negotiations and respecting existing confidentiality agreements.
CDC new receives batch of Novavax XBB vaccines
Taiwan has received 462,800 doses of Novavax’s XBB vaccine, with distribution starting on January 9, 2023, according to the Taiwan Centers for Diseases Control (CDC). In May of this year, Taiwan categorized Covid-19 as a class 4 endemic disease, similar to seasonal flu. The decision was based on clinical trial reports and immunization recommendations from the U.S., the European Union (EU), and the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) of the Ministry of Health and Welfare (MOHW). Unvaccinated individuals are advised to receive two doses of 0.5mL each, administered at least four weeks apart. Those who have already received a COVID-19 vaccine should receive a single dose of 0.5mL, provided at least three months have passed since their last dose. The domestically available XBB vaccine includes those produced by Moderna and Novavax, and recipients can choose either brand for vaccination.
Taiwan reports 326 new COVID cases, majority unvaccinated
Taiwan’s Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reported 326 new domestic cases of COVID-19 for the week of Dec. 19-25, with 99% of the newly infected individuals not having received the XBB.1.5-adapted vaccine. The CDC also noted a rise in fatalities, with 37 deaths, of which 97% had not been vaccinated with the XBB vaccine. The CDC highlighted that the domestic COVID-19 situation is worsening, with 78% of complications and 90% of deaths affecting people over the age of 65. The global positivity rate for COVID-19 is at its peak, and cases are increasing in neighboring Southeast Asian countries. Since the introduction of the XBB vaccine in Taiwan, almost all domestically reported cases of complications and fatalities have been among unvaccinated individuals. The CDC emphasized the protective role of the vaccine, citing recent Dutch research that found it to be over 70% effective against severe infection in the elderly. The domestic rollout of the XBB vaccine has reached 769,000 doses, with a two-month peak of 68,600 doses administered during the week of Dec. 19-25. The CDC encourages mask-wearing during end-of-year gatherings and New Year’s activities, especially in crowded, poorly ventilated places or when in close contact with vulnerable individuals. Prompt medical attention is advised for those displaying COVID-19 symptoms.
Masked palm civet killed by chimp in Taipei Zoo
An adult masked palm civet tragically fell to its death after mistakenly entering a chimpanzee enclosure at the Taipei Zoo. The incident occurred on December 15 and was witnessed by onlookers. The civet was attacked and killed by a chimpanzee, leaving visitors shocked. Taipei Zoo spokesperson Eric Tsao explained that while precautions are taken to ensure animal safety, it is impossible to completely close off each area due to animal welfare considerations. Tsao emphasized that this event serves as a reminder that local wildlife species can occasionally wander into the zoo. Chimpanzees exhibit a group defense behavior pattern and will attack intruders until they show no signs of life. Upon being alerted about the incident, zoo staff followed the Standard Operating Procedure and managed to lure the chimpanzees inside before addressing the situation. However, the civet had already died. The deceased civet, considered a sensitive species in terms of communicable disease control, will be sent to a professional health institution for tests to determine if it carried any infectious diseases.
Taiwan CDC: JN.1 COVID variant sporadically detected locally
Taiwan Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has confirmed that the COVID-19 variant JN.1 has been sporadically detected in Taiwan’s local cases. JN.1 is an offspring of the BA.2.86 variant and was first detected in Taiwan on Oct. 20 through a traveler from Japan. The local proportion of the JN.1 strain is below 5 percent, indicating that it has not become the dominant strain. The World Health Organization (WHO) has recommended the continued use of the XBB.1.5 vaccine strain, which has been shown to be effective against JN.1 and other emerging variants.
Taiwan’s Type B flu cases rise as Lunar New Year nears
Taiwan’s Centers for Disease Control (CDC) warns of a potential flu epidemic around the Lunar New Year due to an increase in Type B influenza infections. Over 6 million government-funded flu vaccines have been administered, with a vaccination rate exceeding 50% among senior citizens. Several counties have reached the target vaccination rate of 55% for seniors. Influenza outpatient and emergency department visits have shown a recent downward trend, but adenoviruses remain the leading respiratory pathogens. H3N2 is more prevalent than H1N1, with a rising proportion of Type B influenza cases. There have been 14 new severe influenza complications and three additional deaths, mainly affecting individuals with chronic illnesses who were unvaccinated. As of December 11, 6.098 million public-funded flu vaccine doses have been administered, achieving a vaccination rate of 50.4%. Officials urge eligible citizens to promptly get vaccinated, as approximately 500,000 doses of government-funded flu vaccine remain.
Pingtung sheep farm hit by first brucellosis outbreak
A sheep farm in Pingtung County, Taiwan experiences its first outbreak of Brucellosis in 30 years, with three sheep testing positive for the disease. The infected sheep have been culled and the entire facility disinfected. Brucellosis is a zoonotic infectious disease that can spread between people and animals, causing placentitis, infertility, miscarriage, and orchitis. The Pingtung County Animal Disease Control Center routinely monitors dairy cattle and sheep farms, with all dairy cattle farms testing negative in 2023. Further confirmation analysis and biweekly blood tests are mandated for the remaining sheep on the affected farm. Taiwan’s Council of Agriculture claims to have eradicated Brucellosis in dairy cows by 1989, and this is the first positive case identified on a sheep farm since surveillance began in 1986. Livestock farms are urged to avoid introducing animals from unknown sources and to enhance biosecurity measures, using proper personal protective equipment and reporting unexplained symptoms to animal health authorities.
Taiwan detects mycoplasma infection in teen traveler
The Taiwan Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has reported the first case of Mycoplasma pneumoniae infection in a child detected during airport screening. A teenage boy developed a fever upon arriving from mainland China on December 4 and tested positive for the pathogen the following day. This detection has raised concerns amid an outbreak of respiratory illnesses in mainland China. The CDC has initiated targeted surveillance at the country’s four major international airports, urging travelers to undergo voluntary testing. Mycoplasma pneumoniae infections account for only 1.2 percent of the cases identified through airport screenings, indicating a downward trend overall. The current respiratory diseases in mainland China are predominantly attributed to influenza viruses, with Mycoplasma infections declining. Health officials have reassured the public that airport testing protocols will continue and are expected to be maintained through the Lunar New Year period to ensure monitoring of incoming travelers and the containment of potential infectious diseases.
Physician warns of prolonged immunity debt in Taiwan
Taiwan has been facing a persistent flu season since the beginning of the year, with three concurrent viruses spreading. Physician Huang Li-min from National Taiwan University Hospital warned of the severity of the flu outbreak and projected a potential two-year ’immunity debt’. Huang also highlighted the heightened risk of a Mycoplasma outbreak in Taiwan, urging the public to practice preventative measures such as vaccinations and adherence to public health guidelines. The Centers for Disease Control in Taiwan has implemented targeted surveillance and testing at international airports, leading to the detection of various viruses, including influenza, COVID-19, and adenoviruses. The World Health Organization is monitoring the Mycoplasma situation in China, urging vigilance despite a decline in the pandemic.
Tainan and Kaohsiung report rising dengue fever cases
The dengue fever outbreak in Taiwan continues to surge, with Tainan reporting 40 new local cases on Sunday (Nov. 19), pushing the total to 26,160. Kaohsiung added 51 cases on the same day, raising its cumulative count to 2,054. However, the Taiwan Centers for Disease Control (CDC) indicated a decreasing trend in 10 dengue fever hotspots in Tainan. The Tainan Dengue Fever Prevention and Control Center reminded people that the development time of mosquito larvae increases in temperatures below 20 degrees Celsius, but their growth and activity are only inhibited in conditions under 16 degrees. As temperatures drop, disease-carrying mosquitoes may seek shelter indoors.
First monkeypox fatality case confirmed in Taiwan
Taiwan’s Centers for Disease Control (CDC) is urging individuals to get vaccinated against monkeypox at one of 155 domestic medical institutions, following the emergence of a domestic monkeypox fatality case in the northern region. The CDC confirmed the first instance of a local man in his 30s contracting and subsequently dying from monkeypox. The man, who was HIV positive, fell ill on Nov. 1 and succumbed approximately 50 days after hospitalization. Monkeypox has a typical fatality rate of 0.1 to 0.2 percent, but it can be as high as 7 percent in individuals with an HIV-caused weakened immune condition. The CDC is specifically urging people with underlying conditions to seek vaccination against monkeypox to prevent the development of severe conditions.
Five more domestic deaths from dengue fever reported
The Taiwan Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reported five more domestic deaths from dengue fever in Tainan and Yunlin. The deceased were males aged between 60 to over 80 with underlying conditions. Health authorities have implemented preventive measures in affected areas. Last week, there were 2,527 new local cases, including 19 severe cases.
Chiayi reports first local avian flu outbreak this fall
The Livestock Disease Control Center of Chiayi County culled 35,000 quails due to an outbreak of the H5N1 virus. The infection was confirmed at a quail farm in Xikou Township, Chiayi County. This is the first avian flu outbreak in the county since the start of Autumn. The farm reported diarrhea and abnormal deaths among its quails, leading to suspicions of avian influenza. Lab results confirming the H5N1 infection were received. The farm has experienced two previous outbreaks of avian flu, prompting calls for improved management practices and biosecurity measures.
Taiwan battles dengue outbreak amid higher temperatures
Taiwan faces a concerning spike in dengue fever cases, with Tainan bearing the brunt of over 80% of the 1,579 cases reported this year. As the nation grapples with rising temperatures and typhoon season, authorities intensify efforts to curb the disease’s spread. Learn about the factors driving the outbreak and essential prevention measures.
Tainan City reports first domestic dengue case since 2019
Taiwan Centers for Disease Control (CDC) announced on Tuesday (June 14) the first domestic dengue case of the year in Rende District, Tainan City, marking the city’s initial occurrence of dengue since 2019. So far this year, there have been 1 domestic case and 45 cases related to travel.
非洲疾病管制暨預防中心（Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention）代理主任歐瑪（Ahmed Ogwell Ouma）今天表示，2022年初以來，非洲已通報1597起疑似猴痘病例，其中66起死亡病例。
美國疾病管制暨預防中心（U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention，CDC）今天表示，正在調查國內的109起不明兒童肝炎病例，其中包括5件死亡病例。
歐洲疾病預防管制中心（European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control）今天表示，近期出現的嚴重急性兒童肝炎病例，目前全球累計通報已約有190例。
非洲疾病管制中心（Africa Centers for Disease Control）今天表示，南非的數據顯示COVID-19（2019冠狀病毒疾病）Omicron變異株的重症，比Delta變異株少70至80%。
韓國疾病管理廳（Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency）24日公布最新數據，全國單日確診創新高有4,116例，重症也有586例，是11月實施「與病毒共存」政策後的新高。
新加坡新冠肺炎疫情嚴峻，近來每日確診人數屢突破3千例，美國疾病管制與預防中心（The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention ,CDC）本週也將新加坡的旅遊健康風險，提高至最高的「第四級」警示。