Review of Significant Epidemics Occurred in Taiwan and International Community in 2009

Shu-Kuan Lai, Shiang-Yun Huang, Yu-Fen Hsu, Chih-Pei Sun, Chiu-Hsiang Lin,Tsung-Wen Kuo, Hsiao-Ling Chang, Jen-Hsiang Chuang

2010 Vol.26 NO.10

Correspondence Author: Shu-Kuan Lai



A total of 4,990 cases, including 81 deaths, caused by acute infectious diseases were confirmed in 2009 in Taiwan, a significant increase when compared with 3,982 cases and 40 deaths in 2008. The increase in number of cases is mainly due to influenza with severe complications, followed by leptospirosis, measles, typhoid fever, dengue/dengue hemorrhagic fever, and pertussis. The three diseases with the largest decrease in the number of cases in 2009 are, in descending order, enterovirus infection with severe complications, botulism, and meningococcal meningitis. The factors contributed to the increase of these disease are measles cluster infections occurred in hospitals from northern to southern Taiwan and military camp, a global pandemic of novel influenza A (H1N1), and leptospirosis cluster infections following the Morakot typhoon in August, a steep increase in typhoid fever cases imported from Indonesia, increase of pertussis cluster infections occurred in schools and household, and large dengue epidemic occurred in Kaohsiung County and City and Pingtung County. Other significant cluster infections include seasonal diarrhea epidemic occurred annually during mid-October to February of the following year, chickenpox found in schools and household, shigellosis identified in children’s home and travel group, amoebiasis in long-term care center and psychiatric care center, rubella in factory, and melioidosis following the strike of Morakot typhoon. The death in 2009 was mainly due to influenza with severe complications, followed by invasive pneumococcal disease and dengue hemorrhagic fever. The infectious disease given the biggest concern in international community in 2009 should be novel influenza A (H1N1) pandemic, followed by avian influenza A (H5N1), measles, dengue fever, chikungunya virus disease, and epidemics in China. Taiwan CDC has always been able to capture the information on occurrence of all these epidemics in time. In 2010, we suggest that, in accordance with the existing infectious disease surveillance system, government should improve border quarantine procedures, establish a well surveillance system for infectious disease following natural disaster, prevent cluster infection of enteric diseases in populous institutions, and strengthen medical examination policy for foreign workers, so that we will have a better disease defense system to ensure health of people in this country.