KZN Records First COVID-19 Infant Death

NEWS: The KwaZulu-Natal Department of Health has recorded KZN’s first pediatric death since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic. In a press release, the department said the five-month-old baby was admitted to hospital with tuberculosis. The infant child sadly passed away on Monday.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) recommends that mothers who are suspected or confirmed COVID-19 patients should be encouraged to start or continue to breastfeed newborn babies. Mothers should be advised that the benefits of breastfeeding outweigh the potential risks for transmission of the coronavirus. Contact between the mother and infant must be initiated, while rooming-in throughout the day and night, to practice skin-to-skin contact, including kangaroo mother care, especially after birth and during the establishment of breastfeeding, whether they or their infants have suspected or confirmed COVID-19. Most people (about 80%) recover from the disease without needing hospital treatment. Around 1 out of every 5 people who gets COVID-19 becomes seriously ill and develops difficulty breathing. Older people, and those with underlying medical problems like high blood pressure, heart and lung problems, diabetes, or cancer, are at higher risk of developing serious illness.

Newsbreak Lotus speaking to Pediatric Clinical Haematologist of the Lenmed Ethekwini Hospital and Heart Centre, Dr Nicolene Moonsamy says children born to COVID-19 positive mothers are required to be tested at 24 hours of age.

Identifying coronavirus symptoms

According to John Hopkins Medicine, coronavirus symptoms are known to be milder in children than in adults. In a recent study published in Pediatrics of COVID-19 in Chinese children, 90% of those who tested positive for the disease displayed mild symptoms or none at all.

Fever and cough are the common COVID-19 symptoms in both adults and children with shortness of breath more likely to be experienced with adults. Children can have pneumonia, with or without obvious symptoms. They can also experience a sore throat, excessive bouts of fatigue or diarrhoea. In the study, 10% of infants with a positive COVID-19 test became critically ill. Severe illness rates are lower in older children, but there are rare cases of children in each age group requiring hospitalization, and one 14-year-old who died. On Feb. 28, the World Health Organization (WHO) published an analysis of 147 pregnant women (64 of whom were confirmed to have coronavirus, 82 who were suspected and one who had no symptoms) and found that 8% had a severe condition and 1% were critically ill. Most people (about 80%) recover from the disease without needing special treatment but one out of every six people who get COVID-19 becomes seriously ill and develops difficulty breathing, according to the WHO.

It’s important to follow guidelines if you think your child is sick with COVID-19 and if your child is diagnosed with COVID-19. Parents and caretakers should trust their instincts and contact their paediatrician or a general medical practitioner if a child seems ill, especially if cough or fever is present. The time between exposure to COVID-19 and the moment when symptoms start is commonly around five to six days but can range from 1 – 14 days.

How to self-quarantine at home

This means you need to separate yourself from others because you have been exposed to someone with COVID-19 even though you, yourself, do not have symptoms. During self-quarantine, you have to monitor yourself for symptoms reminding yourself that the self-quarantine is in aid to prevent transmission. Since people who become ill with COVID-19 can infect people immediately self-quarantine can prevent further infections from happening. 

If you need to self-quarantine:

  • Have a large, well-ventilated single room with hand hygiene and toilet facilities
  • If this is not available place beds at least 1 metre apart.
  • Keep at least 1-metre distance from others, even from your family members.
  • Monitor your symptoms daily
  • Self-quarantine for 14 days, even if you feel healthy the first 5-6 days matter
  • If you develop difficulty breathing, contact your healthcare provider immediately – call them first if possible.
  • Stay positive and energized by keeping in touch with loved ones by phone or online, and by exercising yourself at home.

Seek medical help immediately and avoid contact.  When you attend the health facility wear a mask if possible, keep at least 1-metre distance from other people and do not touch surfaces with your hands. If it is a child who is sick help the child to remain aware and to follow recommended guidelines. 

Source inputs: SABC NEWS | WHO | John Hopkins Medicine

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Stay at home if you feel unwell. If you have a fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical attention and call in advance. Follow the directions of your local health authority during the coronavirus crisis. 

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