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Travelers warned against flu, norovirus outbreaks

TAIPEI--The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) yesterday warned travelers heading overseas for winter vacation to be on guard after reports of outbreaks of various diseases at popular destinations.

These include flu in China, Hong Kong and North America; norovirus in South Korea and Japan; and dengue fever and measles in Southeast Asia, according to the CDC.

Since the start of autumn last year, 68 people have been infected with the H7N9 strain of bird flu in China and Hong Kong, resulting in eight deaths mainly in Zhejiang and Guangdong provinces, CDC Deputy Director-General Chou Jih-haw said.

Seasonal flu, meanwhile, is prevalent in the United States and Canada, Chou said, urging people traveling to these regions to wash their hands frequently and maintain good personal hygiene to prevent infection.

In Southeast Asia, Singapore has seen 2.7 times as many cases of dengue fever in the year to date than it did last year, coming to 4.9 times of the five-year average, he said.

There has also been a significant increase of measles cases in the Philippines, where 760 cases, mainly in Manila, have been reported since the start of this year, despite just 10 cases in the same period last year, he said.

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