The Outbreak of Influenza-like Illness, Increasing Cases of Upper Respiratory Tract Cluster Infection in Preschool and Child-care Center,Department of Health, Kaohsiung City Government Reminds Preschools of Using the Available Flu Vaccination Service
Posted on: 2020-12-02 Posted by: Disease Control Office
As the weather turns cooler, the pandemic outbreak of influenza-like illness begins to occur. According to the epidemic surveillance data of Taiwan Centers for Disease Control, the clinic consultation rate of influenza-like illness is 7.49% nationwide and 7.03% citywide during the 46th week (from November 8th to November 14th) of the year 2020. Along with the increase of the number of patients using emergency medical services, cluster infections continue to rise. Up until November 17th, 2020, there have been 48 cases of cluster infection reported, 80% of which took place at preschools and child-care centers (including infant care center) in Kaohsiung City. The vaccination rate of these units confronted by cluster infections is less than 50% on average. According to Department of Health, there is a total of 657 nursery schools in Kaohsiung City, 148 of which have received on-site group influenza vaccination at school up to now. Department of Health will continue to appoint medical teams to provide group vaccination services at each school so as to improve herd immunity and reduce the risk of contracting severe complicated influenza without both the children and parents’ being required to rush about. Parents whose children have not got a flu shot are reminded to have their children receiving a group influenza vaccination at the nearest kindergarten; if it is unlikely that the preschool provides group influenza vaccination, parents are recommended to take their children, along with their Children's Health Booklet and health ID card, to the contract hospital or clinic for getting vaccinated against the flu.
According to Health Department’s statistics, more than 688 thousand free flu shots have been given all over Kaohsiung City up to November 17th this year. However, there are still 7,507 children aged above three years and below school age and 15,489 children aged above six months and under three years of age yet to get vaccinated from the targeted completion rate.
The Department of Health would like to remind all parents to have their children receive a flu shot, pay close attention to their children’s health condition, and seek medical attention immediately if the relevant symptoms appear for implementing the measure of staying at home when being sick. In addition, facing the threat of influenza-like illness during autumn and winter, the Department of Health is also taking initiative in developing the four prevention strategies as follows:
1. Real-time detection: improve notification mechanism of preschool, child-care center, and institutions with intensive population to practice real-time detection.
2. Infection prevention: instruct 38 district public health center to carry out the second hand-washing audit aiming at preschools and child-care centers, a total of 1,246 of which has been verified, with the qualified rate of 100%, after the school starts in September. Meanwhile, surprise examinations of face mask wearing were also conducted aiming at 93 preschools and child-care centers in Kaohsiung City on November 12th and 13th, with the qualified rate of 100%.
3. Multidimensional public health education: multiple promotional leaflets and picture books have been designed aiming at segment groups to and provided to all bureaus and agencies for use. Multiple channels including social media and official websites have also been integrated and developed to strengthen advocacy and increase the contact rate of public health education.
4. Medical consolidation: a three-phase prevention strategy and flu risk assessment have been formulated on cross-departmental collaboration to improve risk communication and public health education. 615 contract clinics and hospitals which provide free flu vaccination have been set up to guarantee the supply of antiviral drugs for the city.
Department of Health would like to remind schools at all levels to request those who have not got vaccinated against the flu to visit the contract clinic or hospital for receiving a vaccination shot by presenting their influenza vaccination notice immediately and to report the case within 24 hours once the relevant symptoms are experienced by any student or teacher that meet the definition of reporting according to city announcement after group influenza vaccination takes place at school. Those who fail to report the case on time shall be fined NT$ 3,000 up to NT$ 15,000 in accordance with article 37 and 70 of Communicable Disease Control Act once found and proved to be true. Citizens are required to remain vigilant and implement the following prevention measures: a. Wash your hands frequently: wash your hands correctly with soap and scrub at least 20 seconds; b. Wear a face mask: wear a face mask at all times if symptoms of influenza-like illness have appeared; c. Clean and disinfect your facility: clean and disinfect the points of frequent contact (such as tabletop, doorknobs and toilet) using 500ppm bleach solution; d. Open the window: open the window to improve air circulation and avoid staying in an enclosed space for a long period of time; e. Seek medical advice immediately: seek medical attention if symptoms like fever or upper respiratory tract infection appear as the flu is highly contagious; f. Get enough rest: stick to the principle of staying at home when you are sick. For more information related to epidemic prevention, please refer to the official website of Department of Health, Kaohsiung City Government or contact local public health center, Department of Health, Kaohsiung City Government at the epidemic prevention hotline (07-7230250).