CHINA : Taipei – The Changhua county government called for schools Wednesday to remain alert over the current influenza outbreak, even though it has been on the wane nationwide since February.
As of 8 a.m. Wednesday, 655 cases of flu had been reported in junior high and elementary schools in Changhua since Feb. 1, the local government said.
It warned schools to pay attention to students’ health and attendance situations and to instruct students with flu to stay at home until 24 hours after the disappearance of symptoms.
County government officials said residents can take advantage of government-provided free flu vaccinations by the end of March if they are either showing fever symptoms for 48 hours or there are flu patients among family, coworkers or classmates.
About 70 percent of elementary school students have been vaccinated, as experts agreed in a meeting held by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) a day earlier that there is no need to set national criteria for suspending classes in schools because of flu.
Most of the severe flu cases and deaths have been among the over-50 age group rather than among children, said Chou Jih-haw (周志浩), deputy head of the CDC.
Between Jan. 1 and Feb. 29, 926 severe flu cases had been reported in Taiwan, 96 percent of whom had not been vaccinated, according to the CDC.
Liu Ting-ping (劉定萍), director of the CDC’s Epidemic Intelligence Center, said Tuesday that the flu outbreak has been on the wane after peaking Feb. 9.
The number of severe flu cases is now less than 100, said Liu.