Health and Science

Taiwan develops new scrub typhus rapid test kit

Focus Taiwan
Date: 2019/08/31
By: Chen Wei-ting and Chung Yu-chen

Taipei, Aug. 31 (CNA) The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has developed a locally produced testing kit for quick and effective diagnosis of scrub typhus, a mite-borne infectious disease, the agency announced recently.

According to CDC Deputy Director-General Chuang Jen-hsiang (莊人祥), the newly designed device can analyze 96 samples in four hours, while the existing infection diagnostic system can only examine 60 samples in four hours and requires highly trained personnel to administer the test and interpret the results.

The testing kit is applicable for the detection of the widest range of scrub typhus strains, Chuang said.

The device can not only detect scrub typhus cases in Taiwan, but can also be used for scrub typhus diagnosis in Thailand, Sri Lanka, Malaysia and Australia, the CDC said, citing research results from the U.S. Naval Health Research Center, where the kit was sent for testing in June.

Hygiene item suspected of transmitting HPV

Taipei Times
Date: Aug 23, 2019
By: Hsieh Chieh-yu and Sherry Hsiao  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

A doctor in Nantou County advised people not to share personal hygiene products, after a growth of

Nantou Hospital otolaryngology department physician Wu Chao-kuan points to an image of a surgically removed wart yesterday in an examination room at the hospital.
Photo: Hsieh Chieh-yu, Taipei Times

warts inside a 70-year-old man’s ears was likely caused by a reusable ear pick used at a hair salon.

The man, surnamed Huang (黃), experienced itchiness inside his right ear and occasional pus and bloody discharge, Nantou Hospital otolaryngologist Wu Chao-kuan (吳昭寬) said.

Huang visited the hospital after losing hearing in the ear, Wu said, adding that an endoscopic exam confirmed the growth of warts.

The warts were surgically removed and Huang’s hearing gradually recovered, he added.

Heart attack survivor to sue ministry over app

DIGITAL MONITOR:A Tainan man said he was wrongly diagnosed with acid reflux and his condition could have been detected if an ECG app was available in Taiwan

Taipei Times
Date: Aug 11, 2019 
By: Hung Ju6i-ching and Jonathan Chin  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

A Tainan man who survived a heart attack said on Friday that he would sue the Ministry of Health and

An Apple Watch Friday displays a message that to configure the electrocardiogram, the iPhone Health app must be opened.
Photo: Hung Jui-chin, Taipei Times

Welfare for not making a mobile electrocardiography (ECG) app available for Apple Watch Series 4.

The tech worker, surnamed Lee (李), said he would file a civil lawsuit for damages and an administrative suit for negligence if the ministry does not change its regulations, which he said resulted in the app being disabled in Taiwan.

Lee said that he bought the smartwatch from a friend in the US in March, a month before the ministry banned the app on the grounds that it would turn the smartwatch into an unapproved medical device.

The smartwatch cost him about NT$140,000 and he had bought it specifically for the heart monitoring app, as he was feeling unwell and was worried about his well-being, because his family has a history of heart disease, he said.    [FULL  STORY]

Taiwan health care system ranked first by online business magazine

Focus Taiwan
Date: 2019/08/08
By: Chang Ming-hsuan and Chung Yu-chen

Photo courtesy of the NHI

Taipei, Aug. 8 (CNA) Taiwan's health care system has been ranked best in the world out of 89 countries surveyed, according to the 2019 Health Care Index compiled by CEOWORLD, an online business magazine and news site.

The Index measures the overall quality of health care systems, including health care infrastructure, competencies of health care professionals, cost and availability of quality medicine, the magazine said.

It also takes into consideration other factors including environmental factors, access to clean water, sanitation, government willingness to impose penalties on risks such as tobacco use and obesity, according to CEOWORLD.

Of the 89 countries surveyed, Taiwan's health care system scored 78.72 out of 100, the index shows. However, the CEOWORLD index provided no information on how the individual category calculations were made.    [FULL  STORY]

Wash eggs to avoid salmonella, experts say

HYGIENIC COOKING: While salmonella can be treated with antibiotics, infants, elderly people and people with a weakened immune system can suffer serious complications

Taipei Times
Date: Jun 09, 2019
By: Lin Hui-chin  /  Staff reporter

People should wash eggs before cooking them and avoid storing them at room

Two eggs sit on a cutting board on Thursday. Doctors say that washing eggs before cooking them and not storing them at room temperature helps to avoid salmonella contamination.
Photo: Lin Hui-chin, Taipei Times

temperature or eating raw or half-cooked eggs to prevent salmonella infection, health experts said on Friday.

Local Chinese-language media reported that the Chiayi District Prosecutors’ Office on Thursday indicted four people running a breakfast eatery in Chiayi County after a student died and 44 people fell sick after allegedly eating their meals.

People can contract salmonellosis — an infection caused by salmonella bacteria — by eating food tainted by animal or human feces, such as uncooked or half-boiled eggs, milk and meat products, the Centers for Disease Control said.

Infants and adults with urinary incontinence are more vulnerable to the disease, it said.

Acute gastroenteritis is one of the disease’s most common symptoms, while nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, fever and stomach pain can occur within six to 48 hours of infection, the centers said.    [FULL  STORY]

Taiwan halts exports of Kinmen pork products

AN ‘ASSAULT’: After 10 carcasses that washed up on Kinmen tested positive for swine fever, the Ocean Affairs Council told China to ‘get your pigs in order’

Taipei Times
Date: Jun 09, 2019
By: Staff writer, with CNA

The government has suspended the export of pigs and pork products from Kinmen County

Disease prevention staff wearing protective clothing guard a pig carcass on a beach in Kinmen’s Jinhu Township on Tuesday.
Photo provided by Kinmen County Government

for at least one week after another two dead pigs that drifted to the outlying county close to China tested positive for African swine fever.

The two carcasses were found on Tuesday and Wednesday, and the polymerase chain reaction test of samples from them revealed they had been infected with the virus, the African Swine Fever Response Center said.

To prevent an outbreak of African swine fever in Taiwan proper, Kinmen County would be banned from exporting its pigs and pork products to Taiwan’s mainland and other outlying islands under Taiwan’s jurisdiction for at least a week, the center said.

However, seven companies in Kinmen that passed the government’s inspections could still sell their products to Taiwan proper and nearby outlying islands, it added.

McDonald’s inspected over alleged foreign object found in burger

Focus Taiwan
Date: 2019/03/19
By: Chiang Chun-liang, Wu Hsin-yun and William Yen

Taipei, March 19 (CNA) A McDonald’s fast food restaurant in Chiayi City is being

Image taken from Pixabay

inspected by local health authorities after a customer was allegedly injured by a sharp object after biting into a burger, an official said Tuesday.

A 27-year-old man, surnamed Shih (施), was taken to a hospital emergency room by McDonald’s employees early that day after complaining to them that he had been cut by a sharp object in his burger and was bleeding from the mouth, according to Liao Yu-wei (廖育瑋), deputy chief of Chiayi City Health Bureau.

Shih is in a stable condition after receiving treatment and a tetanus shot, Liao added.

Health inspectors have already been dispatched to the McDonald’s restaurant and if any negligence is found the outlet could be fined NT$60,000 (US$1,948) to NT$200 million in accordance with the Act Governing Food Safety and Sanitation, Liao said.

Type-A flu cluster infection contained: Taipei hospital

Focus Taiwan
Date: 2019/03/08
By: Liang Pei-chi and Ko Lin

Taipei, March 8 (CNA) A Taipei hospital’s community health care home in which five people were confirmed to have been infected with type-A influenza virus said on Friday that the cluster infection has been contained.

The patients are now recovering, said Chen Shu-ting (陳淑廷), head of the Medical Affairs Office of the Renai branch of Taipei City Hospital.

A total of six of the patients who live at the health care home developed flu-like symptoms from March 2 to 7, Chen said.

Following flu antigen detection tests, five were later confirmed as having developed type-A flu, suggesting a cluster infection, she said.    [FULL  STORY]

Youth retinal detachment more prevalent in Taiwan

Taipei Times
Date: Mar 02, 2019
By: Lin Hui-chin, Wu Liang-yi and Jake Chung  /  Staff reporters, with staff writer

The high rate of myopia among young Taiwanese could be the main contributing factor to an increase in

An ophthalmologist examines a patient in Taipei on Thursday.Photo: Lin Huei-chin, Taipei Times

retinal detachments, doctors said, citing National Health Insurance Administration statistics.

Retinal detachment is more prevalent in Taiwan than in other nations, especially among those aged 20 to 30, research by Kaohsiung Chang Gung Memorial Hospital Department of Ophthalmology doctor Wu Pei-chang (吳佩昌) showed.

Thirteen times more people in the age group have the condition compared with the Netherlands, Wu said, adding that the agency’s statistics showed that more than 100 young people undergo surgery for retinal detachment every year.

The high prevalence of retinal detachment is directly related to the large number of people with high myopia, Wu said.    [FULL  STORY]

Kaohsiung doctor seeking volunteers for face transplant

Focus Taiwan
Date: 2019/01/09
By: Chen Chi-fong and Flor Wang

Kaohsiung, Jan. 9 (CNA) A Kaohsiung-based surgeon is seeking volunteers to undergo

Photo taken from Pixabay

Taiwan’s first face transplant operation after gaining approval from the central government to do so in November 2018.

Kuo Yur-ren (郭耀仁), director of the Department of Surgery at Kaohsiung Medical University Hospital and the key figure on its face transplant team, told CNA Wednesday he has been looking for volunteers with facial disfigurement to do a transplant since being given the green light by the Ministry of Health and Welfare.

Prior to receiving approval, the hospital had patients ask about the possibility of the procedure last year, but no action was taken because of the lack of a legal basis, Kuo explained.

The concept of face transplants grabbed popular attention in the 1997 thriller Face/Off, leading local media to dub Kuo’s search as an attempt to bring the movie to life in Taiwan, where the procedure has never been done.    [FULL  STORY]