The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) yesterday confirmed five new measles cases associated with a cluster outbreak in Taipei, saying that 1,981 people who had come in direct contact with patients would be monitored for symptoms until Sept. 6.
The cases are likely associated with a man in his 30s living in northern Taiwan, who was infected with measles in Vietnam, returned home on July 29, transmitted the disease to his flatmate, and was confirmed to have measles on Wednesday, the centers said.
One of the five confirmed cases yesterday is a man in his 30s, who was on the same flight with the index case on July 29, and has been in Vietnam since Aug. 5 to Wednesday, so he may have been infected by the index case or by other people in Vietnam, he added.
The other four patients are nurses who work at Cathay General Hospital's emergency room who had come in contact with the index case, the CDC said.
The nurses started experiencing symptoms between Friday last week and Thursday this week, CDC Deputy Director-General Chuang Jen-hsiang (莊人祥) said, adding that one of them was vaccinated for measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) in 2013 and two were vaccinated. last year, but the other has not been vaccinated.
The hospital on Friday held an emergency response meeting to discuss prevention measures and asked the medical practitioners who had direct contact with the index case to have their measles antibody levels measured and receive an MMR vaccine if no antibodies are found, hospital deputy superintendent Lee Chia -long (李嘉龍) said.
The hospital also asked medical practitioners with higher antibody levels to help screen patients with a fever, control staff who are allowed to enter the emergency room, take disinfection measures and put up posters to warn people about clustered measles cases, he said.
One hundred and nineteen measles cases have been confirmed this year – 72 domestic cases, of which 51 had come in contact with confirmed cases, and 47 imported – the CDC said.
Measles is a highly contagious disease that can spread through coughing and sneezing, and it is most contagious in the four days before and after the onset of rashes, the centers said.