Taipei-The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) confirmed on Monday a cluster infection of a respiratory virus in 10 newborns at a postpartum nursing care center in Taipei that the center did not immediately report.
The CDC confirmed the infection in response to a report that the Dianthus postpartum center in Shilin District concealed or delayed reporting the cluster infection of respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) and kept the parents of the affected babies in the dark.
Between Sept. 24 and Oct. 4, 10 newborns developed fevers, coughs, and runny noses and were confirmed to have RSV infections after being examined, CDC Deputy Director-General Lo Yi-chun (???) said, citing information from the center.
The center did not report the cluster infection until Oct. 9, a delay that violates the Communicable Disease Control Act and could result in a fine of NT$10,000-NT$150,000 (US$327-US$4,901), Lo said.
Currently, three babies are still in the hospital, while seven others have returned home or to the postpartum center and been put into isolation, according to Lo.
On Monday, Dianthus issued a statement saying that the center has been conducting fast screening to detect influenza and RSV among babies and nurses and those who test positive will also be placed in isolation.
RSV is a very contagious virus that affects the lungs and respiratory tract and is especially prevalent in children.
People infected with RSV are usually contagious for 3-8 days. Aside from young children, people with weakened immune systems and older adults, are also at high risk for severe RSV infection, according to Lo.
Approximately 5-10 percent of children younger than five years old with RSV infections develop severe complications, and the death rate among them is about 1 percent.
In Taiwan, about 1,000 infants are hospitalized for RSV infections each year, and 90 percent of them are under two years old, government statistics show.
At the local level, meanwhile, Taipei's Department of Health was handed the case by the CDC on Oct. 7 after the CDC received a complaint from the public, according to Taipei health official Yu Tsan-hua (???).
The health department then dispatched personnel to inspect the center the next day and has requested the institution to strengthen disease control measures and reporting, Yu said.
The department will continue to follow up on the case until Friday, Yu said.
Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel