Flu News

Taiwan cancels more than 900 classes over H1N1

Article source: Date time:2009-10-30

  The number of classes cancelled as a result of A(H1N1) swine flu infections has been on an uninterrupted rise, reaching a high of over 900 Thursday morning, health authorities said.


  According to the Central Epidemic Command Centre (CECC), 919 classes involving 439 schools were suspended, comprising 0.67 per cent of total classes nationwide.


  The same statistic passed the 500 mark less than 10 days ago after weeks loitering around 300.



  Despite signs of a once-again widening epidemic, the CECC continued to put its back behind the effectiveness of the “325” benchmark, which stipulates class suspension guidelines.


  Officials also indicated that there is no need at present to penalize those who fail to comply with “325”.


  Deputy director-general Chou Zhi-hao of the Centres for Disease Control (CDC) previously said that the agency will not rule out subjecting disobliging schools and parents to fines between NT$3,000 and NT$15,000 in accordance with the Communicable Disease Control Act.


  His remarks came amid media reports of schools and parents taking advantage of loopholes in the “325” benchmark or condoning non-compliance despite multiple infections seen in classrooms.


  The “325” benchmark states that should any classroom over a period of three days observe two infections, the entire class would adjourn for a period of five days, holidays included.


  Infections that are reported by parents from home are not incorporated into the count.


  Elementary school closure


  Taipei County health officials Thursday confirmed reports of an elementary school that will shut down temporarily after 20 per cent of its student body was confirmed as carrying the flu. Classes will resume on November 1, said the Public Health Bureau (PHB) in Taipei County.


  Health officials said 45 children out of the entire student population of 230 at Ping Lin Elementary School tested positive for influenza A via the rapid flu test, affecting over 12 classrooms.


  Ten of the classes qualify for class suspension under the “325” benchmark, but the Taipei County Education Bureau advised and authorized discontinuance of all classes as to prevent flare-ups, said the PHB.


  CDC to receive local vaccine


  The sole local vaccine manufacturer will deliver the first batch of A(H1N1) flu vaccine today, which will be administered pending approval from health authorities, local media reported Thursday.


  Ignatius Wei, general manager of Adimmune Corp, said he is pleased with the preliminary results of the vaccine's clinical study in humans, citing the quality as comparable to those made by foreign pharmaceutical companies.


  Only two of the 300 participants showed signs of fever, one of the adverse effects of flu vaccines, Wei said. He added that the second clinical study in adult human subjects will be completed before Nov. 15, and results of the first study in children should be available next Monday.


  A(H1N1) vaccinations roll out November 1, with typhoon victims and medical care personnel given priority.