Lanyu holds enterovirus disinfection


LANYU, Taiwan — An island-wide disinfection drive was conducted in Lanyu, also known as Orchid Island, yesterday following the report of a fatal case of suspected enterovirus.

The Health Bureau under the Taitung county government offered help to all public offices and households in Lanyu, which is located off the coast of the county in eastern Taiwan, to facilitate disinfection following the death Sunday of a 15-month-old baby girl who had shown symptoms of enterovirus.

The baby, a child of indigenous parents, showed symptoms of foot and-mouth disease on May 15 and was admitted into the Lanyu Public Health Office on May 16 after developing a fever. The child was ferried to Taitung County and checked into the local Mackay Memorial Hospital Sunday after she fell unconscious and suffered from a plummeting blood pressure. She died at the hospital Sunday afternoon.

The Taitung County Health Bureau has taken samples of the deceased child for further examination and analysis to determine if she died of enterovirus.

More than 30 cases of suspected enterovirus have been reported throughout Lanyu over the past several days, including three first graders who have shown foot-and-mouth disease symptoms, according to the bureau officials.

Officials noted that since all four elementary schools in Lanyu have already been sterilized, it is up to the Taitung County Education Bureau, kindergartens and elementary schools in Lanyu to decide whether the schools should be closed in the face of a suspected outbreak of enterovirus on the small island.

The death of the Lanyu baby girl would be the third death in Taiwan this year due to enterovirus if it is confirmed as enterovirus.

The first enterovirus death occurred in March in Yunlin County, central Taiwan, and the second occurred in early May in the southern Taiwanese county of Kaohsiung, according to Cabinet-level Department of Health.