CORONAVIRUS/1-year-old boy Taiwan's youngest COVID-19 fatality

05/23/2022 06:45 PM
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Image for illustrative purpose only. Source Unsplash
Image for illustrative purpose only. Source Unsplash

Taipei, May 23 (CNA) A 1-year-old boy has become Taiwan's youngest COVID-19 fatality after falling into a coma while taking a nap and never regaining consciousness, according to the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) on Monday.

Lo Yi-chun (羅一鈞), deputy head of the CECC's medical response division, said at a press briefing that the boy, who did not have any known underlying medical conditions, was taken to a hospital when he could not be woken from his nap.

He had no signs of life when he arrived at the hospital and could not be resuscitated, Lo said.

Though the boy had some bluish coloration (cyanosis) in his limbs, a more thorough examination did not discover any bruises or signs of trauma and also did not find any signs of myocarditis or other heart issues, Lo said.

When the boy was tested for COVID-19, however, the results came back positive with a cycle threshold (CT) value of around nine -- indicating a relatively recent infection -- and he was therefore determined to have died of the disease, Lo said.

"But we are unable to determine in detail what may have caused the progression of the disease," Lo said.

The boy was the youngest person to die of COVID-19 in Taiwan since the pandemic began. He was one of two toddlers reported on Monday to have lost their life to the disease, the other being a 3-year-old boy.

The 3-year-old tested positive for COVID-19 at home using a rapid test on May 16, when he had a 38-degree Celsius fever, Lo said.

He then got a PCR test at a hospital and was sent home, but he returned the next day with a 41.3-degree fever and signs of cyanosis, and after losing consciousness and having spasms while in the emergency room, he was put into intensive care.

Tests showed the boy had pneumonia and a brain edema, and he was immediately treated with medication, including the antiviral drug remdesivir, Lo said.

But the boy died during his fourth day in the hospital after suffering from encephalitis hypoxia, arrhythmia, and shock, Lo said.

With those two deaths, the number of children in Taiwan under the age of 10 who have died of COVID-19 increased to four, with three of them found to have encephalitis.

Lo urged parents to watch out for several symptoms in their children that could indicate inflammation of the brain.

They include a fever of 41 degrees and higher, decreased consciousness, seizures, myoclonic jerks, unsteady steps, persistent headaches, vomiting, or sleeping for a long time, according to Lo.

Of the 1,293,191 domestic cases recorded in Taiwan so far this year, 740 have been classified as severe infections and 2,173 as moderate, accounting for 0.06 percent and 0.17 percent of the total, respectively, according to CECC data.

To date, a total of 146,881 children 9-years-old or under have been confirmed as having COVID-19 so far this year, according to Taiwan Centers for Disease Control data.

(By William Yen)

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