Taiwan Braces for Severe Enterovirus Epidemic in 2024, CDC Warns

Taiwan faces potential enterovirus epidemic in 2024, with EV71 strain posing serious health risks, especially for young children. Vaccination is crucial to protect against severe complications.

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Rafia Tasleem
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Taiwan Braces for Severe Enterovirus Epidemic  in 2024, CDC Warns

Taiwan Braces for Severe Enterovirus Epidemic in 2024, CDC Warns

Taiwan's Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has issued a warning about an impending enterovirus epidemic expected to hit the country in late April 2024. The epidemic period, defined as 11,000 weekly hospital visits, is predicted to start by the end of this month, with cases likely to peak in June. Experts are also anticipating a second wave in September when schools reopen.

The CDC's prediction comes amid a recent surge in enterovirus cases, with 9,256 hospital visits recorded in the week of April 7-13, the highest in nearly a decade. The increase in cases is attributed to earlier-than-usual warm weather this year. Taiwan has not experienced a nationwide enterovirus epidemic in the past five years due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Why this matters: Enterovirus outbreaks pose a significant health risk, particularly for young children. The severe EV71 strain, which is a primary concern in the predicted epidemic, can cause serious complications such as encephalitis, cardiorespiratory failure, and acute flaccid paralysis.

Health officials are particularly worried about the enterovirus 71 (EV71) strain, which can lead to severe complications, including encephalitis, cardiorespiratory failure, and acute flaccid paralysis. Children under the age of 2 are at the highest risk of critical complications and death from EV71 infections.

To protect young children from enterovirus infections, vaccination is recommended as one of the most effective measures. Two enterovirus A71 vaccines have been approved for infants over 2 months old in Taiwan. Parents are urged to ensure their children receive the necessary vaccinations to reduce the risk of severe illness.

In a statement, the CDC emphasized the importance of vigilance and preparedness: "As we face the potential of a severe enterovirus epidemic, it is essential for healthcare providers and the public to stay informed and take appropriate precautions. We strongly encourage parents to vaccinate their young children against EV71 and seek prompt medical attention if they suspect an infection."

Key Takeaways

  • Taiwan CDC warns of impending enterovirus epidemic in late Apr 2024, peaking in Jun.
  • Surge in cases attributed to earlier-than-usual warm weather, not seen in 5 yrs due to COVID.
  • EV71 strain poses serious risks, incl. encephalitis, heart failure, paralysis, esp. for under-2s.
  • EV71 vaccines recommended for infants over 2 months to reduce severe illness risk.
  • Healthcare providers and public urged to stay vigilant and take precautions against outbreak.