Profile of Imported Notifiable Acute Infectious Diseases from South-East Asia Region in Taiwanese between 2008 and 2013

Chia-Wei Chang, Pi-Fang Chen, Li-Chu Wu, Li-Li Ho, Yi-Chun Wu

2015 Vol.31 NO.13

Correspondence Author: Chia-Wei Chang

  • Division of Quarantine, Centers for Disease Control, Ministry of Health and Welfare


The travel survey reported that Taiwan citizens visiting to South-East Asia accounted for 15.6% of the total outbound visits in 2013. With the growing trend in visiting to countries in South-East Asia, the possibility of the impact on public health from the imported infectious diseases might be increased. 
We profiled the characteristics and the disease distribution of cases, whose onset dates are between 2008 and 2013, by collecting confirmed cases of Taiwanese traveler infected acute infectious diseases in South-East Asia (including Indonesia, Vietnam, Philippines, Thailand, Cambodia, Myanmar, Laos People's Democratic Republic, Malaysia, and Singapore) from the National Notifiable Disease Surveillance System. This study aims to evaluate the case numbers, demographic characteristics and travel-related factors of patient confirmed as imported infectious disease; and the trend of infection rate across the study period.
The results show that the infection rates are higher among citizens traveling to Myanmar, and Laos, following by Cambodia, Indonesia, and Philippines between 2008 and 2013. The proportion of cases infected by vector-borne diseases is higher than food/water-borne diseases in all countries, except in Cambodia. Dengue fever and shigellosis are the most common diseases in vector-borne and food/water-borne disease, respectively. And among our imported cases, business travel and visiting friends and relatives (VFRs) are the most two frequent travel purposes. We discover two major groups with higher number of cases imported from South-East Asia through cross-analysis on travel purpose and demographic characteristics, which are (1) 30-59 year-old male citizens traveling on business, and (2) less than 12 and 30-49 year-old citizens traveling for VFRs. Even though the number of citizens visiting South-East Asia keeps increasing in recent six years, the infection rate has been in a trend of going downward since 2011.
Taiwan CDC provides health information actively instead to enhance travelers’ health awareness, expecting to change ones’ attitude during traveling and practice prevention measures. The future direction would be studying how citizens arrange to travel abroad, and figure out a better and effective information-passing method, so that we could modify the intervention policy and transform the health education information more customized.

Keywords:South-East Asia;Imported Infectious Disease;Acute Infectious Disease;Travel Type