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Chuang J.-H.,Epidemic Intelligence Center | Chuang J.-H.,National Yang Ming University | Huang A.S.,Field Epidemiology Training Program | Huang W.-T.,Epidemic Intelligence Center | And 5 more authors.
PLoS ONE | Year: 2012

Introduction: Although WHO declared the world moving into the post-pandemic period on August 10, 2010, influenza A(H1N1) 2009 virus continued to circulate globally. Its impact was expected to continue during the 2010-11 influenza season. This study describes the nationwide surveillance findings of the pandemic and post-pandemic influenza periods in Taiwan and assesses the impact of influenza A(H1N1) 2009 during the post-pandemic period. Methods: The Influenza Laboratory Surveillance Network consisted of 12 contract laboratories for collecting and testing samples with acute respiratory tract infections. Surveillance of emergency room visits and outpatient department visits for influenza-like illness (ILI) were conducted using the Real-Time Outbreak and Disease Surveillance system and the National Health Insurance program data, respectively. Hospitalized cases with severe complications and deaths were reported to the National Notifiable Disease Surveillance System. Results: During the 2009-10 influenza season, pandemic A(H1N1) 2009 was the predominant circulating strain and caused 44 deaths. However, the 2010-11 influenza season began with A(H3N2) being the predominant circulating strain, changing to A(H1N1) 2009 in December 2010. Emergency room and outpatient department ILI surveillance displayed similar trends. By March 31, 2011, there were 1,751 cases of influenza with severe complications; 50.1% reported underlying diseases. Of the reported cases, 128 deaths were associated with influenza. Among these, 93 (72.6%) were influenza A(H1N1) 2009 and 30 (23.4%) A(H3N2). Compared to the pandemic period, during the immediate post-pandemic period, increased number of hospitalizations and deaths were observed, and the patients were consistently older. Conclusions: Reemergence of influenza A(H1N1) 2009 during the 2010-11 influenza season had an intense activity with age distribution shift. To further mitigate the impact of future influenza epidemics, Taiwan must continue its multifaceted influenza surveillance systems, remain flexible with antiviral use policies, and revise the vaccine policies to include the population most at risk. © 2012 Chuang et al.


Huang W.-T.,Epidemic Intelligence Center | Huang W.-I.,Taiwan Drug Relief Foundation | Huang Y.-W.,U.S. Food and Drug Administration | Huang Y.-W.,National Taiwan University | And 2 more authors.
Vaccine | Year: 2012

Adverse events following pandemic (H1N1) 2009 vaccines (2009 H1N1 vaccines) in Taiwan were passively reported to the National Adverse Drug Reaction Reporting System. To evaluate the completeness of spontaneous reporting, cases of death, Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS), convulsion, Bell's palsy, and idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura (ITP) after 2009 H1N1 vaccination that occurred between November 1, 2009 and August 31, 2010 were selected from the National Adverse Drug Reaction Reporting System (NADRRS) database and an additionally constructed nationwide large-linked database (LLDB), and matched on a unique personal identifier, date of vaccination (within ±7 days), and date of diagnosis (within ±7 days). Overall, matches occurred between the two data sources included 21 for death, 5 for GBS, 19 for convulsion, 22 for Bell's palsy, and 5 for ITP. The Chapman capture-recapture estimated spontaneous reporting completeness within 0-42 days of vaccination was 4% for death, 71% for GBS, 3% for convulsion, 9% for Bell's palsy, and 15% for ITP. For the interval ≥43 days after vaccination, reporting completeness was 0.1% for death, 14% for GBS, 0.1% for convulsion, <0.1% for Bell's palsy, and 0% for ITP. The estimated-to-expected ratio for Bell's palsy in the interval 0-42 days after vaccination was 1.48 (95% CI 1.11-1.98). Reporting completeness was higher for GBS than other adverse events after 2009 H1N1 vaccination. Linking the NADRRS to existing data sources in a capture-recapture analysis can be considered as an alternative to enhance Taiwan's postlicensure safety assessment of other routine vaccines. Nevertheless, the possibility of an increased risk for Bell's palsy detected by capture-recapture analyses needs further evaluation by controlled studies. © 2012 Elsevier Ltd.


Yang T.O.,University of Oxford | Huang W.-T.,Epidemic Intelligence Center | Chen M.-H.,National Taiwan University Hospital | Chen P.-C.,National Taiwan University | Chen P.-C.,National Taiwan University Hospital
International Journal of Infectious Diseases | Year: 2014

Objectives: Information on seasonal synchrony of influenza activity between neighbouring regions has been found useful for planning infection control measures. Seasonal synchrony of other infectious diseases is less known. We describe the seasonality and seasonal synchrony of three common childhood infectious diagnoses among three regions in Taiwan. Methods: A large, nationally representative sample of young children (N=128651, age 0-4 years) was used to estimate the monthly incidences of acute respiratory infection, acute intestinal infection, and herpangina and hand, foot, and mouth disease (HFMD) in three regions of Taiwan between 2000 and 2005. Seasonality of monthly incidences was indicated by year-on-year intra-class correlations (ICCs). Between-region ICCs were used to describe seasonal synchrony of incidences between regions. Results: We found evidence of seasonality in all three infectious diagnoses (p<0.05). Seasonal synchrony among the three regions was highest for acute respiratory infection (between-region ICC 0.91, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.87-0.94), followed by herpangina and HFMD (between-region ICC 0.85, 95% CI 0.80-0.90), and acute intestinal infection (between-region ICC 0.69, 95% CI 0.59-0.79). Conclusions: We found strong evidence of seasonal synchrony in the incidences of acute respiratory infection, acute intestinal infection, and herpangina and HFMD between three neighbouring regions of Taiwan. An understanding of these disease patterns may inform future infection control measures. © 2014 The Authors.


Glasser J.,Centers for Disease Control and Prevention | Taneri D.,Centers for Disease Control and Prevention | Feng Z.,Purdue University | Chuang J.-H.,Epidemic Intelligence Center | And 4 more authors.
PLoS ONE | Year: 2010

Background: Because they can generate comparable predictions, mathematical models are ideal tools for evaluating alternative drug or vaccine allocation strategies. To remain credible, however, results must be consistent. Authors of a recent assessment of possible influenza vaccination strategies conclude that older children, adolescents, and young adults are the optimal targets, no matter the objective, and argue for vaccinating them. Authors of two earlier studies concluded, respectively, that optimal targets depend on objectives and cautioned against changing policy. Which should we believe? Methods and Findings: In matrices whose elements are contacts between persons by age, the main diagonal always predominates, reflecting contacts between contemporaries. Indirect effects (e.g., impacts of vaccinating one group on morbidity or mortality in others) result from off-diagonal elements. Mixing matrices based on periods in proximity with others have greater sub- and super-diagonals, reflecting contacts between parents and children, and other off-diagonal elements (reflecting, e.g., age-independent contacts among co-workers), than those based on face-to-face conversations. To assess the impact of targeted vaccination, we used a time-usage study's mixing matrix and allowed vaccine efficacy to vary with age. And we derived mortality rates either by dividing observed deaths attributed to pneumonia and influenza by average annual cases from a demographically-realistic SEIRS model or by multiplying those rates by ratios of (versus adding to them differences between) pandemic and pre-pandemic mortalities. Conclusions: In our simulations, vaccinating older children, adolescents, and young adults averts the most cases, but vaccinating either younger children and older adults or young adults averts the most deaths, depending on the age distribution of mortality. These results are consistent with those of the earlier studies.


Huang W.T.,Epidemic Intelligence Center | Hsu C.C.,Medical Emergency Operations Center | Lee P.I.,National Taiwan University | Chuang J.H.,Epidemic Intelligence Center
Eurosurveillance | Year: 2010

From 16 November 2009 to 22 January 2010, Taiwan investigated 23 clusters of mass psychogenic illness after vaccination (MPIV) in the nationwide in-school vaccination programme against the 2009 pandemic influenza A(H1N1). The median age of the 350 ill students (68% female) was 13 years. Intense media coverage of these events has driven public concerns about the safety of the pandemic influenza vaccine. In the future, countries should incorporate surveillance and communication strategies for MPIV in their pandemic preparedness plans.


Liu D.P.,Epidemic Intelligence Center | Liu D.P.,National Taiwan University | Wang E.T.,Ministry of Health and Welfare | Pan Y.H.,Ministry of Health and Welfare | Cheng S.H.,National Taiwan University
Eurosurveillance | Year: 2014

Immunisation registry systems have been shown to be important for finding pockets of under-immunised individuals and for increasing vaccination coverage. The National Immunisation Information System (NIIS) was established in 2003 in Taiwan. In this perspective, we present the construction of the NIIS and two innovative applications, which were implemented in 2009, which link the NIIS with other databases for better control of measles. Firstly, by linking the NIIS with hospital administrative records, we are able to follow up contacts of measles cases in a timely manner to provide the necessary prophylaxis, such as immunoglobulin or vaccines. Since 2009, there have been no measles outbreaks in hospitals in Taiwan. Secondly, by linking the NIIS with an immigration database, we are able to ensure that young citizens under the age of five years entering Taiwan from abroad become fully vaccinated. Since 2009, the measles-mumps-rubella vaccine coverage rate at two years of age has increased from 96% to 98%. We consider these applications of the NIIS to be effective mechanisms for improving the performance of infectious disease control in Taiwan. The experience gained could provide a valuable example for other countries. © 2014 European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC). All rights reserved.


Huang W.T.,Epidemic Intelligence Center
Euro surveillance : bulletin européen sur les maladies transmissibles = European communicable disease bulletin | Year: 2010

From 16 November 2009 to 22 January 2010, Taiwan investigated 23 clusters of mass psychogenic illness after vaccination (MPIV) in the nationwide in-school vaccination programme against the 2009 pandemic influenza A(H1N1). The median age of the 350 ill students (68% female) was 13 years. Intense media coverage of these events has driven public concerns about the safety of the pandemic influenza vaccine. In the future, countries should incorporate surveillance and communication strategies for MPIV in their pandemic preparedness plans.


Fu Y.-c.,Academia Sinica, Taiwan | Wang D.-W.,Academia Sinica, Taiwan | Chuang J.-H.,Epidemic Intelligence Center | Chuang J.-H.,National Yang Ming University
PLoS ONE | Year: 2012

Recent studies of infectious diseases have attempted to construct more realistic parameters of interpersonal contact patterns from diary-approach surveys. To ensure that such diary-based contact patterns provide accurate baseline data for policy implementation in densely populated Taiwan, we collected contact diaries from a national sample, using 3-stage systematic probability sampling and rigorous in-person interviews. A representative sample of 1,943 contact diaries recorded a total of 24,265 wide-range, face-to-face interpersonal contacts during a 24-hour period. Nearly 70% of the contacts occurred outside of respondents' households. The most active age group was schoolchildren (ages 5-14), who averaged around 16-18 daily contacts, about 2-3 times as many as the least active age groups. We show how such parameters of contact patterns help modify a sophisticated national simulation system that has been used for years to model the spread of pandemic diseases in Taiwan. Based on such actual and representative data that enable researchers to infer findings to the whole population, our analyses aim to facilitate implementing more appropriate and effective strategies for controlling an emerging or pandemic disease infection. © 2012 Fu et al.


Huang W.-T.,Epidemic Intelligence Center | Yang H.-W.,Epidemic Intelligence Center | Liao T.-L.,Epidemic Intelligence Center | Wu W.-J.,Epidemic Intelligence Center | And 3 more authors.
PLoS ONE | Year: 2013

In Taiwan, new H1N1 monovalent vaccines without adjuvant and with MF59® adjuvant were used in the nationwide vaccination campaign beginning on November 1, 2009. From November 2009 through February 2010, the authors identified recipients of H1N1 vaccines who were diagnosed with adverse events of special interest (AESIs) in a large-linked safety database, and used the self-controlled case series (SCCS) method to examine the risk of each AESI in the 0-42 days after H1N1 vaccination. Of the 3.5 million doses of H1N1 vaccines administered and captured in the linked database, the SCCS analysis of Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS) found an incidence rate ratio of 3.81 (95% confidence interval 0.43-33.85) within 0-42 days after nonadjuvanted H1N1 vaccination and no cases after MF59®-adjuvanted H1N1 vaccination. The risks of other AESIs were, in general, not increased in any of the predefined postvaccination risk periods and age groups. The databases and infrastructure created for H1N1 vaccine safety evaluation may serve as a model for safety, effectiveness and coverage studies of licensed vaccines in Taiwan. © 2013 Huang et al.


Hsu L.-C.,Center for Research | Hsu L.-C.,National Yang Ming University | Chen Y.-J.,Center for Research | Hsu F.-K.,Center for Research | And 6 more authors.
PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases | Year: 2014

Background:A mass Japanese encephalitis (JE) vaccination program targeting children was launched in Taiwan in 1968, and the number of pediatric JE cases substantially decreased thereafter. The aim of this study was to elucidate the long-term trend of JE incidence, and to investigate the age-specific seroprevalence of JE-neutralizing antibodies.Methodology/Principal Findings:A total of 2,948 laboratory-confirmed JE cases that occurred between 1966 and 2012 were analyzed using a mandatory notification system managed by the Centers for Disease Control, Taiwan. A total of 6,594 randomly-sampled serum specimens obtained in a nationwide population-based survey in 2002 were analyzed to estimate the seroprevalence of JE-neutralizing antibodies in the general population. The average annual JE incidence rate of the group aged 30 years and older was 0.167 cases per 100,000 people between 2001 and 2012, which was higher than the 0.052 cases per 100,000 people among those aged under 30 years. These seroepidemiological findings indicate that the cohort born between 1963 and 1975, who generally received two or three doses of the vaccine and were administered the last booster dose more than 20 years ago, exhibited the lowest positive rate of JE-neutralizing antibodies (54%). The highest and second highest antibody rates were observed, respectively, in the oldest unvaccinated cohort (86%) and in the youngest cohort born between 1981 and 1986, who received four doses 10-15 years ago (74%).Conclusion/Significance:Over the past decade, the main age group of the confirmed JE cases in Taiwan shifted from young children to adults over 30 years of age. People who were born between 1963 and 1975 exhibited the lowest seroprevalence of JE-neutralizing antibodies. Thus, the key issue for JE control in Taiwan is to reduce adult JE cases through a cost-effective analysis of various immunization strategies. © 2014 Hsu et al.

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