More than 3500 people in Kaohsiung and 980 people in Taoyuan are being monitored by health authorities after possible exposure to the measles. As of Monday, April 23, at least 22 cases have been confirmed in Kaohsiung and Taoyuan since March 29. Heath authorities have quarantined the individuals in Kaohsiung in an effort to stop the spread of the disease.
The current outbreak has been traced to a 30-year old male flight attendant with Tigerair Taiwan who contracted the illness in Thailand in March. He then infected two cabin crew colleagues who continued working until they fell seriously ill, infecting travelers with the disease. The outbreak was originally contained among employees at Taoyuan International Airport before spreading to Taoyuan city and Kaohsiung.
Measles is a highly contagious viral disease that typically affects mostly children. It is transmitted via droplets from the nose, mouth, or throat of infected persons. Symptoms of measles are usually a high fever, which begins approximately ten to 12 days after exposure to the virus and lasts four to seven days. A runny nose, a cough, red and watery eyes, and small white spots inside the cheeks can develop in the initial stage. After several days, a rash erupts, usually on the face and upper neck. Over the course of about three days, the rash spreads, eventually reaching the hands and feet. The rash lasts for five to six days and then fades. On average, the rash occurs 14 days after exposure to the virus (within a range of seven to 18 days). A vaccine is available.
Individuals in or planning travel to Taiwan are advised to ensure their vaccinations are up to date and to contact their doctor with any questions or concerns. Anyone experiencing the above symptoms is urged to seek immediate medical attention.