Influenza Outbreak at a Correctional, Taitung,2012

Yi-Feng Su, Jen-Hsin Wang, Song-En Huang

2013 Vol.29 NO.14

Correspondence Author: Yi-Feng Su

  • Sixth Branch, Centers for Disease Control, Taiwan


       On July 19, 2012, a correctional facility in Taitung reported 25 inmates having influenza-like illness with symptoms of fever, cough, myalgia, and rhinorrhea. The incident was reported as an upper respiratory infection outbreak to the Symptoms Surveillance System of the Centers for Disease Control. Influenza AH3 were isolated from 10 specimens taken from patients. Public health agencies launched an investigation and instituted control measures. During July 18 to August 4, 2012, there were 110 inmates with influenza-like illness, yielding an attack rate of 16.7% (110/661). Public health agencies intervened rapidly at the start of the outbreak, and antiviral agents were provided to ill patients. However, the outbreak was not controlled because the correctional facility did not implement isolation correctly and execute all control measures recommended. The outbreak was only controlled with continued public health agency intervention and guidance in implementing aggressive control measures. This outbreak shows that correctional facilities must increase personnel infection control competency, and ensure proper implementation of disease surveillance and reporting. Furthermore, public health agencies must also strengthen their supervision and auditing of these facilities at times with no outbreaks, and provide timely intervention and guidance during outbreaks. Hopefully these outbreaks can be avoided in the future.