Toddler who tested positive for coronavirus in Kerala stable, say doctors
A three-year-old boy who returned with his parents from Italy by a Dubai flight has tested positive for coronavirus on Monday, the youngest to get infected in the country.
Ernakulam district collector S Suhas said the child was detected with mild fever during thermal screening at the Cochin International Airport on March 7 and immediately admitted to the isolation ward of the Ernakulam Medical College Hospital with his parents. The sample of the child tested positive at the virology laboratory in Alappuzha and later the National Institute of Virology, Pune also confirmed it.
Belonging to Kannur in north Kerala, the boy’s father works in Italy.
“The child’s condition is stable. He is responding well to the symptomatic treatment. Results of his parents will be made available by Monday evening. As of now, both did not show any symptoms,” the collector said adding an experts’ team is monitoring the baby’s health.
Some individuals who interacted with the family at the airport have been identified and all passengers who travelled on the same flight were asked to report for testing immediately, he said.
A senior doctor of the medical college hospital, who did not want to be identified, said there is limited information on children getting infected but there are chances that they may get infected if exposed to the virus.
“In China, the youngest to get infected was a days’ old baby. Children have better resilience and they recoup very fast. A child’s immune system is totally different from an adult’s. But it all depends on the immunity and infection levels of the particular child,” he said adding the baby was stable. He said the treatment procedure is the same for children also, which is symptomatic treatment.
“We have little information on children getting infected. Inflammatory response in children is very low when compared to the aged. Once the virus contracts, it sets up a huge degree of inflammation that damages organs and eventually turns fatal. This possibility is relatively less in children. But it doesn’t mean that children are safe from infection,” said A S Anoop Kumar, head of the critical care unit at Baby Memorial Hospital in Kozhikode who played a key role in diagnosing the Nipah virus two years ago in Kerala.
He said customary screening at the airport was not sufficient to contain the spread and the state has to enter the next level, mitigation. “We should have better data integration. Data linking of passengers travel history is very important at this juncture. It helps to pinpoint travel history of passengers from high risk countries. And we need to cut time in testing laboratories also. We need more labs and isolation wards,” he said.