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Number of flu cases falls, severe cases reach 26 over past week: CDC

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Taipei, April 16 (CNA) Although the number of influenza cases reported from April 7-13 fell, a total of 26 severe flu-like cases were reported over the past seven days, including an unvaccinated 7-year-old girl from northern Taiwan who is currently intubated, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) on Tuesday.

A total of 86,000 people with influenza-like symptoms visited outpatient healthcare providers or emergency departments from April 7-13 as the flu season showed signs of abating, CDC Central Epidemic Command Center Deputy Director Lee Chia-lin (李佳琳) said at a news conference.

However, from April 9-15, 26 new cases of severe influenza were recorded, including the one involving the youngest patient, a 7-year-old girl in northern Taiwan with no underlying health conditions who did not receive this season's influenza vaccine shot.

Early this month, the girl developed a cough with phlegm, runny nose and a fever of nearly 40 degrees Celsius and then experienced abdominal pain and vomiting three days later, CDC physician Lin Yung-ching (林詠青) said at the presser.

Lin said the girl was diagnosed with influenza A and a computed tomography (CT) scan of her head revealed cerebral edema, or brain swelling. The doctor determined her condition to be influenza-associated encephalopathy or encephalitis and the girl is in the intensive care unit for medical treatment. At present, she is still intubated.

During the period, three flu-related fatalities were reported, the youngest being a man in his 40s from northern Taiwan who had multiple chronic diseases such as hypertension, diabetes, heart failure and obesity. He did not receive this season's influenza vaccine shot.

From March 31 to April 6, 16 new cases of severe influenza were recorded.

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