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    Taiwan CDC urges school and restaurant workers to pay attention to personal hygiene and environmental cleanliness and public to pay attention to hand hygiene and food safety as viral gastroenteritis clusters continue to be reported
    Publication Date:2017-03-01 Data Sources:Centers for Disease Control, R.O.C.(Taiwan)

    (Press Releases)

    The viral gastroenteritis season is upon us and diarrhea clusters have continued to occur. As all levels of schools have resumed and the upcoming 228 long weekend is fast approaching, the Taiwan Centers for Disease Control (Taiwan CDC) urges school and hospitality workers to reinforce personal hygiene and environmental cleanliness. In addition, the public is advised to pay attention to hand hygiene and food safety, wash hands with soap and water, and avoid consuming raw or undercooked foods and drinks to ward off infection.

    According to the surveillance data compiled by Taiwan CDC, during the past four weeks (Weeks 4 and 7), the proportions of patients seeking emergency department for acute gastroenteritis during the past four weeks respectively are 5.7%, 7.3%, 6.3%, and 6.5%. During the same period last year, the proportions of patients seeking emergency department for acute gastroenteritis respectively were 5.1%, 5.1%, 8.1%, and 7.5%. Acute gastroenteritis activity was on the rise again last week (Week 7) since reaching a peak in during the Lunar New Year holiday (Week 5). Among the 21 diarrhea clusters reported last week, 15 (71%) occurred in schools.


    Thus far this year, a cumulative total of 74 diarrhea clusters have been reported. 62 (84%) were caused by norovirus, 6 (8%) were caused by co-infection with norovirus and rotavirus, 1 (1%) was caused by rotavirus, and 5 (7%) were caused by bacteria. The majority of the reported diarrhea clusters occurred in schools (39, primarily in elementary schools and kindergarten), followed by the hospitality industry (16) and tour groups (5). Norovirus has been the dominant cause of these clusters.

    Norovirus is highly contagious and there is currently no drug to treat the infection.  It is transmitted mostly through fecal-oral route. Viruses can survive in the vomitus and stool of infected people for a long time and infect others through the consumption of virus-contaminated food or close contact with the patients. As a result, large scale outbreaks often occur. To prevent norovirus infection, wash your hands frequently with soap and water, especially after using the toilet and always before eating and preparing food; practice good personal hygiene; pay attention to the source of ingredients used in home-cooked meals and ensure the cooking process is hygienic; and ensure all foods are thoroughly cooked before consumption, especially oysters and other shellfish.


    If symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal cramps and fever develop, please rest as much as possible, stay hydrated, eat several small, light meals while getting proper nutrition, and avoid greasy and sugary foods. Infected individuals should rest at home, and only resume school or work 48 hours after symptoms are relieved to lower the risk of transmission through direct contact. If the patient is unable to take leave, please put on a mask and refrain from touching nose and mouth with hands to prevent further spread of the disease. For more information, please visit the Taiwan CDC website at http://www.cdc.gov.tw or call the toll-free Communicable Disease Reporting and Consultation Hotline, 1922 (or 0800-001922).


    • Last modified at 2017-02-23