A 3-year-old local boy who had epilepsy died earlier this month due to complications caused by influenza, the Health Bureau (SSM) said during a press conference at the Conde de Sao Januario Hospital Centre on Saturday.
Disease Prevention and Control Centre Director Lam Chong said the boy, who suffered from congenital developmental delay, was chronically ill. He was hospitalised on the 5th of April as his temperature was 41 degrees Celsius. Lam said the boy suffered several seizures during his stay in the public hospital coupled by cerebral oedema and multiple organ failure. The boy died three days later.
Lam said doctors had determined that the boy’s death was caused by influenza, which worsened his underlying illnesses. “If the patient had been vaccinated, this could have been prevented,” said Lam, adding that the flu was an indirect cause of the boy’s death.
According to the bureau, neither the boy nor his family had travelled abroad, but the family’s domestic helper has had respiratory problems. Lee Pui I, director of the hospital’s Department of Paediatrics and Neonatology, said it was hard to confirm whether the maid’s condition was related to the boy’s infection.
SSM records show that this was the city’s first confirmed flu-related death.
She added that doctors had urged the parents to have their son vaccinated, but they were reluctant due to the boy’s health. Asked by reporters why the bureau waited so long to announce the case, Lee said doctors had to verify the boy’s exact cause of death, adding that the public might have panicked if the bureau had prematurely released details of the case without concrete information.
Lam said about 1,200 patients have been afflicted with the flu since the beginning of the year, adding that the bureau has about 10,000 doses of flu vaccination in stock and that SSM staff will inoculate retirement home residents from next month. (macaunews/macaupost)