Hong Kong sees first child flu death this winter

January 29, 2019 17:04
A two-year-old boy was sent to the A&E department of Tin Shui Wai Hospital on Jan. 20 and was later transferred to the pediatric intensive care service of Tuen Mun Hospital. His condition continued to worsen  before he died on Monday. Photo: ISD

A two-year-old boy infected with the influenza A virus died on Monday, becoming the first child fatality in Hong Kong in the current epidemic season.

Investigation showed that the boy had not received an anti-flu vaccine before he was infected with the virus, hk01.com reports.

The toddler had had no travel history during the incubation period, and his companions at home have been asymptomatic so far.

The boy was sent to the Accident and Emergency (A&E) department of Tin Shui Wai Hospital for treatment in the early morning of Jan. 20 and was transferred later to the pediatric intensive care service of Tuen Mun Hospital.

A spokesman for Tuen Mun Hospital said the toddler had developed persistent fever and convulsions while requiring ventilation support.

After he was diagnosed with acute necrotizing encephalitis, his condition continued to worsen. He died at about 7 p.m. on Monday, according to the spokesman.

Tuen Mun Hospital, which offered condolences to the boy’s family, has reported the case to the Department of Health's Centre for Health Protection for review.

A growing number of children have been suffering from seasonal flu, with some in critical condition.

Dr. Alfred Wong Yam-hong, a cardiologist at Tuen Mun Hospital, urged the government to take additional measures to combat the situation, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reports.

Speaking at a radio program, Wong, who is also a member of Médecins Inspirés, a pro-democracy group of medical professionals, said authorities should seriously consider re-allowing doctors recognized by the Commonwealth to practice in Hong Kong.

Moreover, the government should stop the policy of issuing 150 one-way permits to mainlanders on a daily basis, Wong said, noting that many of them come to Hong Kong for dialysis treatment, which can only add to the pressure on public hospitals.

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