The Health Bureau (SSM) has announced this year’s first flu-related death, a 4-year-old girl who died Thursday of complications caused by influenza Type A and pneumonia after treatment at the private Kiang Wu Hospital.
A special press conference about the fatality was held at the public Conde de São Januário Hospital Centre.
The press conference was co-hosted by the director of the public hospital, Dr Kuok Cheong U, SSM Centre for Disease Prevention and Control Director Dr Lam Chong, and Dr Li Pengbin, the deputy director of the Medical Administration Department of Kiang Wu Hospital.
According to Dr Li, the victim, a kindergarten pupil, had been healthy and did not suffer from any chronic disease. Li said that the girl started to have a fever and runny nose on Thursday last week. Her parents to her to Kiang Wu Hospital where a flu virus rapid test was negative.
According to Dr Li, the girl returned to Kiang Wu Hospital on Monday as she was still having a fever. On Tuesday, the victim’s condition deteriorated, and she was admitted for inpatient treatment after a flu virus test proved positive for influenza A.
Dr Li said that the girl was then given Tamiflu and she was transferred to the intensive care unit (ICU) later that day. At 1 p.m. yesterday, the victim died of hemolytic-uremic syndrome triggered by the flu infection and of streptococcus pneumonia, according to Dr Li.
According to Dr Li, the victim did not receive flu vaccination for the year 2017/2018 winter influenza season. Her 18-month-old sister, who was not vaccinated either, has also been diagnosed with influenza Type A infection in a preliminary test.
Dr Kuok noted that Macau is experiencing the seasonal peak period of influenza and that recently hundreds of patients with flu-like symptoms are seeking treatment at the local hospitals every day , adding that it was therefore impossible – and also unnecessary – to carry out a flu virus test for every single patient with flu-like symptoms.
Dr Kuok also said that the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) guidelines do not state that it was necessary to do a flu virus test for every patient with flu-like symptoms.
According to Dr Lam, around 70 percent of schoolchildren have received flu vaccination for the year 2017/2018 winter influenza season.
According to Dr Kuok, it is not mandatory that every schoolchild is required to get a flu jab. He said that for the 30 percent who have not been vaccinated, in most cases their parents rejected the government’s offer of free flu shots.
“In most of these 30 percent, they [the parents] signed a paper refusing to accept the vaccination,” Dr Kuok said.
According to The Macau Post Daily today Dr Kuok also said that at the moment it was not necessary for the kindergarten which the victim attended to suspend its classes.