Taiwan sees sharp increase in diarrhea cases

Image taken from Pixabay via CNA

Taipei, (CNA) A spike in reported cases of diarrhea in Taiwan last week has prompted the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) to renew its call for the public to adopt food safety and sanitation measures and follow proper personal hygiene practices.

A total of 160,650 people sought outpatient or emergency treatment for diarrhea Feb. 18-24, up 33.7 percent from the previous week, according to statistics released Tuesday by the CDC.

Over the past four weeks, 20 cluster infections of diarrhea have been reported around Taiwan, 10 of which occurred at restaurants or hotels, mostly linked to norovirus, according to the CDC.

CDC Deputy Director-General Chuang Jen-hsiang (莊人祥) attributed the increase to the customs of feasting during the Lunar New Year holiday and said the outbreak is expected to slow down next week.

Norovirus is commonly transmitted through fecal contamination in food or water, person-to-person contact, and aerosolization with subsequent contamination of surfaces, the CDC said.

The symptoms include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and stomach cramps. Sometimes people develop a slight fever, chills, headache, muscle pain and a general sense of tiredness.

Chuang urged people to wash their hands frequently, observe good personal and environmental hygiene, and eat only well-cooked foods, to prevent infection.

(By Chang Ming-hsuan and Evelyn Kao)