Taiwan should be cautious over bird flu outbreak: health official

15-Jan-2014 Intellasia | Focustaiwan | 6:00 AM Print This Post

Taipei, January 13 (CNA) China has not been active in dealing with an outbreak of H7N9 avian influenza and Taiwan should be particularly cautious about a possible outbreak of the bird flu on the island, a top health official said Monday.

Deputy minister of Health and Welfare Lin Tzou-yien said at a meeting of the Legislative Yuan’s Social Welfare, Health and Environment Committee that H7N9 is a seasonal virus and that the outbreak this year is not as serious as last year’s.

Asked whether he is concerned over a possible H7N9 outbreak, Lin said that judging by the current situation, there is little possibility of such an event, but people still need to be cautious.

He said the health ministry has notified hospitals around the country to pay particular attention to pneumonia cases and to send sputum samples to the ministry’s Centers for Disease Control for testing.

In addition, several virus detection systems in communities are also carrying out such testing, he added.

Currently, Taiwan has sufficient supplies of seasonal influenza vaccine, which has a relatively high efficacy level, Lin noted.

The country is still developing a vaccine to protect against H7N9 and it is expected to enter the second phase of clinical trials in February.

The research team aims to have the vaccine licensed and on the market following the conclusion of the third phase of clinical trials, according to Lin.

China has a major responsibility in getting H7N7 under control, Lin said, adding that this requires the country’s government to deal properly with live poultry markets.

However, China has not been dealing with the problem since autumn, Lin said, suggested that Beijing should take more aggressive measures to control the spread of the virus, including shutting down live poultry markets and culling poultry.

http://focustaiwan.tw/news/asoc/201401130031.aspx

 


Category: Health

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