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Macau 4-year-old dies of flu-related brain disease

A four-year-old local girl, who lives in Zhuhai and commutes to school in Macau, died in Zhuhai on Sunday from flu-related encephalopathy, a brain disease, a Health Bureau (SSM) statement said Tuesday.

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UPDATED: 22 Dec 2023, 5:50 am

A four-year-old local girl, who lives in Zhuhai and commutes to school in Macau, died in Zhuhai on Sunday from flu-related encephalopathy, a brain disease, a Health Bureau (SSM) statement said Tuesday.

The statement said that the bureau has ordered Escola Fukien (Fujian School) to suspend the K2B class that the girl attended until Friday, to reduce the risk of spreading the flu. It also ordered the school to carry out thorough disinfection of its classrooms and other facilities.

According to the statement, the girl went to Shunde to visit her relatives last Thursday. She came down with a fever the following day, and was diagnosed with acute upper respiratory tract infection (URI) at Kiang Wu Hospital. On Saturday, she had a seizure at home in Gongbei and was taken to Gongbei Hospital. She was later transferred to Zhuhai Women’s & Children’s Hospital where she was declared dead on Sunday after failed emergency treatment.

The statement said that the girl tested positive for flu but there was no information about the strain of the flu virus, and the clinical diagnosis was that her death was caused by flu-related encephalopathy.

According to information provided by Zhuhai authorities, the girl had a congenital heart defect. She had one dose of flu vaccine in November last year, but did not have the second shot of vaccine a month after the first dose, as required for children in that age range.

The statement said that her parents are not suffering from URI and the girl did not go to school after she fell ill, but seven children, four boys and three girls, aged between four and five, in her class have developed flu-like symptoms.

Two of the children were admitted to Kiang Wu Hospital. One had a high fever but left the hospital after her temperature had gone down, and the other child needed to stay in the hospital due to severe coughing, but was in a stable condition yesterday.

The SSM statement also said the bureau had received three other reports of children suffering from the flu.

The first case involves eight children aged between six and seven from Sheng Kung Hui Escola Choi Kou (Macau), the second case involves four children aged four to six from Escola Primária Luso-Chinesa do Bairro Norte in Ilha Verde, and the third case involves five children aged five to six from Escola Ilha Verde.

The statement said that all these children suffering from flu had URI symptoms such as a fever, cough and runny nose on Thursday and Friday last week.

The children have sought medical treatment, and one child from Sheng Kung Hui Escola Choi Kou (Macau) still suffered from a high fever and remained hospitalised yesterday.

The SSM statement said that seasonal flu activity was low in Macau now but warned that it was picking up, mainly of the H1N1 strain.

UPDATED: 22 Dec 2023, 5:50 am

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