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CDC urges the public to be on guard against enterovirus

TAIPEI -- People living in Taiwan should put more emphasis on their personal hygiene in the coming weeks as Taiwan has entered the season when enterovirus becomes prevalent, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) said Wednesday.

A total of 362 enterovirus patients sought treatment in emergency rooms last week, accounting for 0.3 percent of Taiwan's emergency room cases, said CDC quarantine physician Luo Yi-chun.

It was the fourth week in a row that the number of enterovirus cases increased in Taiwan, Luo said.

Though no patients infected with the virus have developed serious complications, the CDC said, local residents should wash their hands more frequently as the disease is likely to peak during the summer months.

Based on CDC data, coxsackie A virus is currently the dominant virus strain circulating around the country.

The CDC said that in 2013, a total of 12 cases of enterovirus infection with severe complications were confirmed, including seven patients with enterovirus 71 (EV71), three with coxsackie virus A6 (CA6) and one with coxsackie virus A5 (CA5).

The 11 patients recovered, but the 12th enterovirus case, a baby who had echovirus 30, died.

The CDC warned that infants and children aged below five are at increased risk of developing enterovirus infections with severe complications.

As soon as a child show suspected symptoms of the virus, such as persistent fever, drowsiness, inactivity or continuous vomiting, the child should be taken to the hospital for further diagnosis, the CDC said.

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A person washes their hands in a washroom, yesterday. According to a New Taipei City Government survey, people spend on average 3.5 seconds washing their hands after using the toilet. This would rinse off only one fourth of the bacteria on their hands. (CNA)

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