Surveillance & Control of Enterovirus in Taiwan

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Speaker: Dr. Chin-Hui, Yang (楊靖慧)
Division Director
Division of Acute Infectious Diseases,
Centers for Disease Control, Taiwan


Enterovirus belongs to a group of small RNA viruses, including polioviruses, Coxsackie A viruses, Coxsackie B viruses, etc. Enterovirus type 71(EV71) has a significantly higher pathogenicity compared to other known enteroviruses, especially regarding neurological complications. An unprecedented outbreak of EV71 infections occurred in Taiwan in 1998 resulted in 405 children with severe complications and 78 deaths. There are no preventive vaccines or specific antiviral agent for non-polio enteroviruses currently. Therefore, enteroviruses will continue to pose a threat to human health for the foreseeable future.

Taiwan CDC established multiple and real-time surveillance systems for enterovirus infections, covering HFMD and herpangina, severe cases, clustering, virus isolation and typing. The outpatient clinic and emergency visits for enterovirus infection increases in late March and peaks around mid-June, then decreases after mid-June. There is usually another smaller outbreak when schools reopen in September. Children under the age of 5 are more prone to critical complications and death. EV71 is the major causative serotype of severe cases in Taiwan.

Since there is no vaccine currently, the best way to help protect yourself and others from non-polio enterovirus infections is to wash hands often with soap and water; avoid close contact, such as touching and shaking hands, with people who are sick and clean and disinfecting frequently touched surfaces. Besides, augmenting caregiver awareness of prodromal symptoms for severe case can prevent mortality. As to risk communication, we developed multiple health education materials and campaigns for the public and health care professionals. We also establish a medical service network to manage severe enterovirus infection which includes regional chiefs, responsible hospitals and eight contract laboratories.

The content is authorized by Dr. Chin-Hui, Yang on October 30, 2017.