Hong Kong boy dies from child flu, first fatality this winter season

Parents accuse Tuen Mun Hospital of delaying treatment and underestimating son’s condition, but institution says Tamiflu was prescribed according to clinical diagnosis

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 05 January, 2017, 8:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 05 January, 2017, 9:16am

A six-year-old boy died in Tuen Mun Hospital after catching flu, the first such fatal case involving children this winter.

He had been in a critical condition in the paediatric intensive care unit with acute necrotising encephalitis relating to the influenza A he had caught last month.

He died at about 4.30pm on Wednesday.

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The boy, who in the past was healthy, was struck by diarrhoea on December 19, followed by fever, coughing and a runny nose, according to the Centre for Health Protection.

The boy, who reportedly had not been vaccinated against flu last year, was admitted to Tuen Mun Hospital on December 22. He later tested positive for influenza A and was diagnosed with acute necrotising encephalitis.

The boy’s parents had earlier complained to the media that the boy had not been prescribed Tamiflu – an antiviral medicine for the treatment of flu – early enough, resulting in brain inflammation.

They accused the hospital of delaying treatment and underestimating his condition.

The hospital said earlier that doctors had prescribed Tamiflu according to the clinical diagnosis and before the results of a quick flu test were available.

The case will be referred to the coroner’s court for investigation.