Bengaluru sees pediatric Covid deaths after 7-week gap

Bengaluru reports pediatric Covid-19 deaths after seven-week gap

Official data revealed that the number of child deaths in the state had been steadily declining since the second wave peaked

A woman puts a mask on her child at CV Raman General Hospital. Credit: DH File Photo

After two child Covid-19 fatalities on August 4, Bengaluru has once again reported three pediatric deaths since the second week of September.

While the cases dating back seven weeks showed children suffering from serious comorbidities that reduced their chances of recovery, at least two of the recent fatalities appear not to have any. Municipal officials are concerned that the onset of respiratory infections prompted by the monsoon may disguise Covid-19 until it is too late.

This appeared to be the case of a three-year-old girl who died on September 8. As per the records with the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP), the child was a resident of Hosahalli.

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“The girl had a history of fever, cough and sore throat since September 1. She was admitted to the Indira Gandhi Institute of Child Health on September 7 where doctors found that both lungs had severe consolidation and haziness indicating Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS),” said D Randeep, Special Commissioner (Health), BBMP.

A Covid-19 test was subsequently done and the child was intubated in view of severe respiratory failure, and was admitted in ICU. As the child was also in shock, she was put on inotropes. Within 24 hours, however, on September 8, the child’s condition deteriorated and she went into bradycardia (slow heart rate), the BBMP said.

Delayed testing, hospitalisation

“This is likely one of the first of recent deaths to not have an associated comorbidity,” Randeep said. “We are checking if delayed presentation to the hospital played a role in the death. Parents must not hesitate in getting their children tested at the first suggestion of a respiratory infection.”

Two other deaths have not yet been made public by the state government.

The first is a one-month-old baby girl referred to the Bangalore Medical College and Research Institute (BMCRI) on September 15 with severe pneumonia but no recorded comorbidities. Dr Smitha Segu, nodal officer for Covid-19, BMCRI, specified that the child tested positive for Covid-19 shortly afterwards. She died on September 19.

The second fatality was a one-and-a-half-month-old baby boy who was also referred to the hospital on September 19. In addition to Covid-19, the baby also had tuberculosis-meningitis and was suffering from convulsions prompted by hydrocephalus (fluid collection in the brain). “The baby was also malnourished, anemic and had rickets,” Dr Smitha said. The child succumbed to the disease on September 23.

Child deaths declining

Official data revealed that the number of child deaths in the state had been steadily declining since the second wave peaked.

In May, 20 child deaths were reported (nine in Bengaluru Urban), followed by 13 in June (two in the city), 10 in July (none in the city) and seven in August (two in the city).

In September, three deaths have been made public so far. At least two others are pending public disclosure. Three of this month’s fatalities happened in the city.

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