TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — A one-year-old boy died suddenly while taking a nap at home and was diagnosed with COVID after being declared dead, while a three-year-old boy died from encephalitis and neurological shock brought on by the virus.
During a press conference on Monday (May 23), Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) head Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) announced 66,247 local COVID cases, including 130 moderate cases and 43 severe cases. He also announced 40 deaths, bringing the country's total COVID death toll to 1,436.
Philip Lo (羅一鈞), deputy head of the CECC's medical response division, said that the 40 deaths announced on Monday include 30 males and 10 females ranging in age from under five to their 90s, all of whom were classified as severe cases. Among these deaths were two children ranging in age from one to three.
Lo said that the two deaths among children included a one-year-old boy who had no underlying conditions and was taking an afternoon nap on May 19, when his family found him to be unresponsive and without any vital signs. His family called for an ambulance, which quickly rushed him to a nearby hospital.
However, physicians' efforts to resuscitate the boy were unsuccessful, and he was declared dead at the hospital. Forensic pathologists did not see any signs of trauma, but a test for COVID came back positive and the cause of death has been deemed to be the virus.
Lo said that the other deceased child was a three-year-old boy with no underlying conditions. He developed a fever of about 39 degrees Celsius on May 16 and tested positive for COVID on a home rapid antigen test kit. On May 17, his fever climbed to over 40 degrees.
He began to suffer cyanosis of the limbs, prompting his family to rush him to the hospital. When he arrived at the emergency room, the boy had lost consciousness and suffered limb spasms, convulsions, pneumonia, and cerebral edema. Lo said he had been diagnosed with encephalitis, hypoxia, neurological shock, and pressure on the brain.
Physicians administered Remdesivir and medication to relieve the intracranial pressure but were unable to save the boy. Doctors declared him dead on May 20. The cause of death was determined to be encephalitis combined with neurological shock, making him the sixth COVID case among children to suffer from encephalitis.
A total of 14 children have become seriously ill since the start of the Omicron outbreak in Taiwan. Four children have died, with three dying from encephalitis.
Lo reminded the public of eight major symptoms to beware of in children:
- Body temperature over 41 degrees
- Trouble concentrating
- Persistent drowsiness
- Persistent headache
- Persistent vomiting
- Muscle twitching
- Unsteady gait
If a child is confirmed to have COVID, parents should carefully monitor their children for any signs of the above symptoms. If any are detected, they should take the child to a doctor for evaluation and treatment.
According to CECC statistics, from Jan. 1 to May 22 of this year, there have been 1,290,278 mild and asymptomatic cases, accounting for 99.77% of total cases in that time period. There have also been 2,173 moderate cases, accounting for 0.17%, and 740 severe cases, representing 0.06% of total cases in that same time period.