Measles case reported; source of infection could be airport

Taipei, The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has confirmed a new measles case in Taiwan but said it is still searching for the source of the infection because the patient works at Taoyuan International Airport and had not traveled abroad in the past month.

A man at his 20s was confirmed to be infected with the measles Sunday, CDC Deputy DirectorGeneral Chuang Jenhsiang said, noting that the patient developed a fever on July 21 but did not see a doctor until a rash broke out on his face, chest and hands on July 24.

The case was reported to health authorities that day, and tissue samples were sent for laboratory testing. Two days later, the test results came back positive for measles, which led to Sunday's confirmation, according to the CDC.

The patient, who is currently in isolation at home, is a member of China Airlines' ground crew at the Taoyuan airport, where he worked at the airline's checkin counter and airport lounge in Terminals 1 and 2 on July 20, 22 and 23 before developing more severe symptoms, Chuang said.

Because measles can be contagious for up to four days before the onset of a rash, the patient could have passed the virus to people he came in contact with at the airport, Chuang said.

Also, in the light of the man's workplace and the fact that he made no overseas travel over the past month, the patient may have been infected himself by a traveler from a measlesstricken area who contracted the disease but had yet to develop symptoms, he said.

The origin of the infection still needs to be clarified, Chuang said.

Meanwhile, the Taoyuan Department of Public Health is monitoring 73 people found to have come in contact with the patient. They have been asked to closely monitor their health until Aug. 11, the CDC said.

The symptoms of measles include a high fever, runny nose, pink eye, coughing, and a red rash, the CDC said, and it advised people to seek medical attention if they develop such symptoms.

Taiwan has recorded 108 measles cases so far this year, with 67 indigenous cases and 41 imported cases, according to CDC data. Of the 41 imported cases, 36 involved Taiwanese nationals.

Measles outbreaks have been seen in neighboring countries, the CDC said, noting that as of July 19 there had been 3,800 cases reported in Thailand this year and 349 cases in New Zealand, while Vietnam had reported 4,700 confirmed cases as of the end of June.

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel