People planning overseas trips warned to beware of epidemics

Taipei-With schools in Taiwan having entered the winter break and the week-long Lunar New Year holiday on the horizon, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) urged people to take precautions before traveling overseas.

Many areas around the world are facing contagious epidemics, including South Korea, where influenza outbreaks are at their peak and virus-caused stomach flu is rampant, the CDC said in a statement on Jan. 23.

Also in South Korea, the host nation of the 2018 Winter Olympic Games scheduled to take place from Feb. 6-25, the highly pathogenic H5N6 and N5N8 types of avian flu have been reported in South Jeolla, North Jeolla and Gyeonggi provinces since the beginning of the year.

People planning to visit there or other countries where the flu is spreading in the near future should consult with physicians familiar with travel health on the need for vaccinations or taking preventive medication two to four weeks before departure, the CDC suggested.

According to the CDC's global epidemic monitoring data, there has been an increase in flu cases recently in the Northern Hemisphere.

Influenza B has also been spreading in China, Hong Kong, South Korea and European countries, while the N3N2 flu strain was active in the United States and the N1N1 flu strain was evident in Japan.

The data also indicated that there were more measles cases reported in Europe this year than the same period last year.

Measles outbreaks were severe in Romania, and cases of measles infection were also reported in Italy, Ukraine, Germany and Greece, as well as in parts of England.

In Asia, Thailand, Indonesia and India have reported more measles cases than other nations in the region, according to the CDC.

The agency reminded travelers to be aware of personal hygiene and the basic principles of staying healthy, including washing their hands frequently, eating cooked foods, drinking bottled water, taking precautions against mosquito bites and avoiding contact with birds, dogs, cats and wildlife.

"Do not bring home an infectious disease as a souvenir," the CDC urged.

Source: Overseas Community Affairs Council