Via Focus Taiwan: 55 people on preventive medication over H7N9 concerns. Excerpt:
Fifty-five of the 163 people known to have come into close contact with a Chinese tourist infected with the H7N9 strain of avian flu have begun taking preventive medication, a Centers for Disease Control (CDC) official said Thursday.
Among them were three medical care providers who began to show respiratory symptoms and were asked to stay at home for self-health management, said CDC Deputy Director-General Chuang Jen-hsiang.
In addition, Chuang said, sputum samples were collected from them for testing.
"They all tested negative," Chuang said after the examination results became available around Thursday noon, showing that none of the trio were infected with the virus.
The infected Chinese tourist, 86, arrived in Taipei Dec. 17 last year and was hospitalized Dec. 24 for treatment for pneumonia. He had visited major tourist destinations in seven cities and counties around Taiwan before his hospitalization.
The CDC confirmed Dec. 31 that the elderly man, from China's Jiangsu Province, was infected with the deadly H7N9 virus, marking Taiwan's second imported H7N9 infection.
Chuang said the man is currently in a "serious yet stable condition."
Epidemiological survey results as of Thursday morning showed that 663 people had been in contact with the man, Chuang said.
Of them, 163 had what doctors described as close contact with him, and had sputum samples taken for testing.
Moreover, 55 were deemed to at particularly high risk of infection, including his two daughters, tour guide, bus driver, hotel staff and the three medical care providers, all of whom began a 10-day course of Tamiflu Tuesday as a preventive measure, Chuang said.
Today's post by Dr. Ian Mackay on VDU's blog indicates why the authorities have been quick to medicate even potential cases: By the time H7N9 is confirmed, it may well be too late for Tamiflu to work effectively.