Influenza outbreak comes early this year: CDC

The annual outbreak of influenza in Taiwan has come earlier this year than in the past, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) said Tuesday as it reported another fatality from flu complications.

CDC Deputy General Chuang Jen-hsiang (???) said flu outbreaks have typically started to pick up momentum in the latter part of November, but this year's outbreak seems to be ahead of schedule, and he urged the public to take precautions and get vaccinated early.

The number of patients visiting hospitals for the flu last week reached 54,000, up more than 4,000 from the previous week.

During the current flu season (which officially began July 1), 68 people have been confirmed as having serious complications from the flu, and seven of them have died.

Among the fatalities, five had the H3N2 virus while the two others had B-type flu. None of the people who died had received a flu vaccine.

The latest victim was a 64-year-old from northern Taiwan who had suffered from liver cancer. He developed the illness on Oct. 11, checked into a hospital two days later, and died from serious complications in just two weeks.

Chuang also noted that there were nine cluster infections last week, eight more than during the previous week.

This was perhaps due to recent temperature fluctuations and several activities involving large crowds, such as baseball games and demonstrations, he said.

Getting a vaccination is the most effective way to prevent the flu, Chuang said, and he urged high-risk groups, such as seniors over 65 years old, infants and children, chronic disease patients and pregnant women to get their shots as early as possible.

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel