Profile of Imported Notifiable Acute Infectious Diseases from China, Hong Kong and Macao 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.2

Correspondence Author: Chia-Wei Chang

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


      On December 15, 2008, the full implementation of direct air and sea transport, namely Major Three Direct Links, between major cities of Mainland China and Taiwan was officially launched. The number of cross-Strait travelers has increased since then. As a result, the number of Taiwanese nationals, who are at risk of infection and  may import the infectious diseases to Taiwan also on the rise due to the fact that infectious diseases are easily spread in some areas of Mainland China, where living environments and hygienic conditions are still under improvement.
      We analyzed the characteristics and the disease distribution of cases, whose onset dates are between 2008 and 2013, by collecting confirmed cases of Taiwanese travelers with acute infections in Mainland China, Hong Kong and Macao, from the National Notifiable Disease Surveillance System. This study was conducted to evaluate the case numbers, demographic characteristics and travel-related factors of confirmed Taiwanese cases, and the trend in incidence of disease from 2009 to 2013 after the full implementation of Major Three Direct Links.
       The results showed that Mainland China was the major area where Taiwanese travelers with notifiable acute infectious disease imported. Food and water-borne diseases were the most common imported infectious diseases. Male travelers among 30-59-year-old group with business purpose were the major population. Nevertheless, no increasing or decreasing trend in disease incidence was observed among Taiwanese travelers visiting Mainland China/Hong Kong/Macao (p=.48) and those visiting Mainland China (p=.42) during the five years (2009-2013) after full implementation of Major Three Direct Links.
       Since travelers may have different accessibilities to information on international epidemic diseases offered by Taiwan CDC due to different travel arrangements, the prospective orientation of travel medicine policy is expected to help travelers be alert to the local disease epidemics and avoid practicing high risk activities by increasing the accessibility on international disease epidemics in different populations.

Keywords:China, Three Direct Links, Food-borne, Water-borne, Imported infectious diseases