As Taiwan CDC confirms 1 new imported Zika case, travelers returning from Zika-affected areas advised to take precautions against mosquito bites and follow the “1+6 Principle

  • Resource: Taiwan CDC
  • Release date: 10/4/2018 1:39:51 PM

On October 2, 2018, Taiwan Centers for Disease Control (Taiwan CDC)announced one new imported Zika case identified in Taiwan. The case isan over 30-year-old Taiwanese male who resides in northern Taiwan.During June 24 and September 23, he was in Vietnam for work. OnSeptember 20, he developed pain below the ears, pain behind the eyesand rash, so he took over-the-counter drugs to relieve the symptoms. OnSeptember 22, his rash gradually subsided. On the following day, hetook a flight from Vietnam to return to Taipei. On September 26, hesought medical attention, and blood specimen was collected from thecase. On September 30, infection with Zika virus was confirmed in thecase. As of now, the case’s symptoms have improved, and he is notexperiencing any discomfort. Hence, he has returned to work in Vietnam.

Since 2016, a total of 19 imported Zika cases, including 2 in 2018, 4in 2017, and 13 in 2016, have been identified in Taiwan. The majorityof them acquired the infection in Southeast Asia and they respectivelybecame infected in Indonesia (1), Malaysia (2), the Philippines (2),Singapore (1), Thailand (4), Vietnam (5).The others became infected inAfrica and the Americas, including Angola (1), Florida, the U.S. (1),St. Lucia (1), St. Vincent and the Grenadines (1).

Taiwan CDC scaled up the travel notice level for Vietnam to Level 2:Alert for Zika virus in view of the newly imported case and thepotential risk of local transmission of Zika virus in the country.Travelers returning to Taiwan from Zika-affected areas are urged toproactively contact the quarantine officer at the fever screeningstation at the airport when experiencing symptoms. If symptoms developwithin two weeks of their return, please seek immediate medicalattention and inform the physician of their travel history.Simultaneously, healthcare facilities are urged to heighten vigilancefor suspected cases, inquire patients of their travel history whennecessary, and report suspected cases to the competent health authorityas required by the law in order to lower the risk of transmission.

According to the Zika virus classification table published by the WorldHealth Organization (WHO) on March 9, 2018, 71 countries, areas and/orterritories worldwide have reported local outbreaks of Zika virusinfection since 2015. Taiwan CDC has issued a travel notice of Level 2:Alert for Zika virus for 3 affected Asian countries with ongoingoutbreaks or possible local transmission of Zika virus, including thePhilippines, Singapore, and Vietnam. For countries with evidence ofvirus circulation before 2015 or ongoing transmission that is no longerin the new or re-introduction phase, but where there is no evidence ofinterruption, Taiwan CDC has issued a travel notice of Level 1: Watchfor Zika virus; these countries include Bangladesh, Cambodia, India,Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Maldivesand Myanmar, Thailand.

Current scientific evidence has proved that Zika virus infection isusually mild in adults and suggested the occurrence of congenitalmicrocephaly and even deaths in babies of mothers who were infectedwith Zika virus while pregnant. Therefore, pregnant women and womenplanning pregnancy are advised to postpone all unnecessary travels toZika-affected areas. Travelers visiting Zika-affected areas are urgedto take precautions against mosquito bites such as wearinglight-colored clothing, long sleeves and long pants, applyingofficially approved mosquito repellent to exposed parts of the body,staying at accommodations installed with window screens, screen doorsor air conditioners. In addition, travelers leaving Zika-affected areasare urged to follow the “1+6 Principle” to prevent Zika transmission.The “1+6 Principle” specifies that people who have recently traveled toZika-affected areas should monitor their own health and takeprecautions against mosquito bites for at least 3 weeks, postpone blooddonation for at least 1 month, and regardless whether they developsuspected Zika symptoms, they should practice safe sex for at least 6months to prevent Zika transmission. Further, female travelers shouldpostpone pregnancy for at least 6 months. For more information, pleasevisit the Taiwan CDC website at http://www.cdc.gov.tw or call thetoll-free Communicable Disease Reporting and Consultation Hotline, 1922(or 0800-001922).