Epidemiological Study of the Medically Attended Cases of Pneumonia and Influenza in Taiwan in 2002
2004 Vol.20 NO.9
Influenza virus types A and B are two major viruses that cause influenza in men. Type A influenza virus, in particular, induces large-scale epidemics. The monitoring of influenza in Taiwan is based on the trends shown by the weekly average number of cases reported by the sentinel physicians established by the Center for Disease Control of the Department of Health. An analysis of the National Health Insurance data should help understand the basic information on pneumonia and influenza in Taiwan, and should also serve as an important basis for the clinical medical care systems to plan and set up necessary volume of work at time of epidemics. The National Health Insurance data are bulky, and human errors are likely to occur in the process of data inputting to cause deviations which will have serious impact on the entire statistical analysis. The National Health Insurance data were therefore separately checked against sex, age, and major and secondary complaints. To really understand the actual number of patients medically attended, they should be tabulated by households. By the 2002 medical payments of the National Health Insurance, the number of pneumonia patients was 763,394; and the number of influenza patients was 1,713,846; totaling 2,477,240, and accounting for 11.0% of the mid-year population of that year. There were more female patients than males. By age, infants and children under six years of age had the highest medical-care rate. By month, more patients of both pneumonia and influenza were medically attended in January. The central region of Taiwan had the highest medical-care rate of pneumonia; and the Kao-Ping region had the highest medical-care rate of influenza. By medical costs in terms of points, in-patient care was 40 times as high as out-patient care. Medical costs of outpatient care for pneumonia were 4.8 times higher than those of influenza. Medical costs were the highest for the elderly above 65 years, either for the inpatient or outpatient care of pneumonia and influenza.