The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) yesterday confirmed five new cases of cluster outbreaks in Taipei, saying that 1,981 people who came in direct contact with patients would be monitored for symptoms by September 6.
The cases are likely related to a man in his 30s living in northern Taiwan, who was infected with measles in Vietnam, returned home on July 29, passed the disease to his colleague, and was confirmed to have measles on Wednesday, the centers said.
One of the five confirmed cases yesterday was a man in his 30s, who was on the same flight with the index case on July 29, and was in Vietnam from August 5 until Wednesday, so he could be infected by the index case or other people in Vietnam , he added.
The other four patients are nurses working at the Cathay General Hospital's emergency department who came in contact with the index case, the CDC said.
Nurses began with symptoms between Friday last and Thursday this week, said CDC Deputy General Manager Chuang Jen-hsiang (莊人祥), adding that one of them was vaccinated against measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) in 2013 , and two were vaccinated last year, but the other was not vaccinated.
The hospital held an ambulance meeting on Friday to discuss preventative measures and asked doctors who had direct contact with the index case to measure their measles antibody levels and receive the MMR vaccine if they did not find antibodies, Lee Chia Hospital Deputy Assistant-Long (李嘉龍).
The hospital also asked doctors with higher levels of antibodies to help screen patients with fever, control staff who are allowed to enter the emergency room, take disinfection measures and put up posters to alert people to clustered measles cases, he said.
One hundred and nineteen measles cases – 72 domestic cases – were confirmed this year, 51 of which came in contact with confirmed cases and 47 were imported – the CDC said.
Measles is a highly contagious disease that can be spread by coughing and sneezing, and is most contagious in the four days before and after the rash occurs, the centers said.