Influenza death toll rises to 28 this flu season: CDC

A 66-year-old man in southern Taiwan died of complications from severe flu last week, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) confirmed Tuesday, bringing the total number of people who have died this flu season in Taiwan to 28.

CDC physician Lin Yung-ching (林詠青) said the patient, who had a history of chronic conditions including diabetes, hypertension, and heart murmurs, developed flu symptoms in early November.

He was rushed to a local hospital for emergency care after developing complications five days later.

According to CDC Epidemic Intelligence Center Director Liu Ting-ping (劉定萍), there were 10 new cases of severe flu with complications last week, and all of the patients have histories of chronic illnesses.

Nine of them were over the age of 50, and eight were diagnosed to be infected with the H3N2 strain of the virus, Liu added.

Taiwan has recorded 230 cases of severe flu with complications since July 1 — which the CDC designates as the start of the flu season.

Of them, 90 percent involved patients were aged over 50, 93 percent had a history of chronic disease, and 79 percent had not receive flu vaccinations during the current flu season.

To date, 28 people have died from flu-related complications, and 75 percent of the victims were infected with the H3N2 strain of the virus. The H3N2 virus is expected to remain the mainstay of flu infections in the country this season, Liu said.

The CDC advised anybody infected with the flu virus to stay at home and avoid public places, especially those at high risk of developing flu-related complications, such as young children, the elderly and patients with chronic diseases.

When symptoms appear, including fast or labored breathing, thick or blood-streaked sputum and fever, patients should seek immediate treatment at a hospital, the CDC noted.

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel

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