《TAIPEI TIMES》 CDC boosts virus reporting measures
Travelers entering Taiwan pass a poster warning about the virus outbreak in Wuhan on their way through a screening station at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport yesterday. Photo: Chu Pei-hsiung, Taipei Times
HIGH STANDARDS: The CDC has instructed doctors to report patients who have been to China and meet the clinical definition of ‘novel influenza A virus infection’
By Lee I-chia / Staff reporter
The Centers for Disease Control （CDC） yesterday said that it has increased the mandatory reporting condition for healthcare professionals to include people who have recently been to China and show symptoms of a viral pneumonia infection.
The move aims to prevent the transmission of novel coronavirus 2019 （2019-nCoV）, which has caused a pneumonia outbreak in Wuhan, China, with 45 confirmed cases so far, including two deaths.
The Chinese health authority yesterday confirmed four cases — all men who began experiencing symptoms from Jan. 5 to Jan. 8 — CDC Deputy Director-General Chuang Jen-hsiang （莊人祥） said.
They have been quarantined, he said, adding that 98 of the 763 people who had come into direct contact with the 45 patients remain under medical observation.
“As there might be limited human-to-human transmission of the novel coronavirus, we have increased mandatory reporting conditions, in addition to requiring doctors to report to the CDC patients who have been to Wuhan in the 14 days prior to their visit and show symptoms of severe special infectious pneumonia,” Chuang said.
The CDC has instructed healthcare facilities and doctors to report patients who have been to China and meet the clinical definition of “novel influenza A virus infection” — as well as those with “pneumonia of unknown cause,” including clusters and healthcare personnel who show symptoms — for 2019-nCoV infection screening.
Since Dec. 31, CDC personnel have conducted onboard inspections for respiratory diseases on 31 flights from Wuhan, covering 3,541 passengers and crew, Chuang said.
As of Friday, only four passengers had met the clinical definition of severe special infectious pneumonia, he said.
Two others were infected with the influenza A （H1N1） virus and two with the influenza B virus, Chuang said, adding that they have all tested negative for 2019-nCoV infection.
Asked about an estimate by British health experts that the actual number of cases in Wuhan might have reached 1,723, Chuang said the experts inferred the number from cases detected outside of China — two in Thailand and one in Japan — by making assumptions and running simulations of possible scenarios.
“The CDC never ruled out the possibility of human-to-human transmission, so we have used the highest standards for onboard inspections, disease screening and preventive measures,” he said.
The Taiwan Blood Services Foundation yesterday said that people who have been to Wuhan should avoid donating blood within 28 days of leaving the city.
Blood donors who show symptoms of fever, respiratory infection or pneumonia after donating blood should notify the center, it added.