CHINA : Taipei – Taiwan recorded 338 new cases of severe flu with complications last week, 15 of which resulted in death, the Centers for Disease Control said Tuesday.
Since July last year, 1,109 severe flu cases have been reported in Taiwan, and 84 of them have been fatal, the CDC said.
It said that in 95 percent of the cases, the patients had not been vaccinated against flu.
During the three-day 228 Memorial Day weekend, more than 12,000 people sought medical treatment for flu, according to the CDC.
Liu Ting-ping (劉定萍), director of the CDC’s Epidemic Intelligence Center, said the influenza epidemic in Taiwan has been on the wane after peaking on Feb. 9.
The number of severe flu cases, however, peaked on Feb. 22 but is also now declining, Liu said.
Influenza A H1N1 remains the most prevalent strain of virus this year, she said.
Meanwhile, in a meeting Tuesday, experts concluded that there was no need to set national guidelines for suspending classes because of influenza outbreaks in schools.
There is no evidence that suspending classes would help contain the flu epidemic, which is already on the wane, said CDC Deputy Director-General Chou Jih-haw (周志浩).
Furthermore, most of the severe flu cases and deaths have been in the over-50 age group rather than among children, he said.
Some studies show that suspending classes will increase school children’s contact with their communities and families, which could result in a 27 percent spike in the incidence of flu, Chou said.
As of Feb. 27, some 71 classes in 50 schools across Taiwan had implemented suspensions due to flu infections, Ministry of Education statistics show.