Vietnam’s youngest patient trumps coronavirus

By Xuan Tung, Giang Huy, Chi Le   February 21, 2020 | 05:02 pm GMT+7

After contracting the novel coronavirus from her grandmother, a three-month-old baby left a Hanoi hospital cured following 10 days of treatment.

On February 6 the child developed a cough, and a blood test showed she had contracted the virus. She was brought to Vietnam National Children’s Hospital five days later. When she arrived, she had a fever of 37,5 Celsius degree, she was sneezing and had a runny nose, her leukocyte levels were slightly higher than normal, while all body functions were normal. An x-ray report reveals there were bronchial lesions behind the mitral valve.  The girl child contracted the disease from her grandmother, who was infected by one of eight workers who went to Wuhan for training last November and returned on January 17.  On January 28 the infant was taken to her grandmother’s house in Binh Xuyen District of the northern Vinh Phuc Province.  After the grandmother tested positive, the provincial center for disease control quarantined the baby and her mother.

On February 6, having developed a cough, a blood test showed the baby girl had caught the virus. She was brought to Vietnam National Children’s Hospital five days later with a fever of 37.5 degrees Celsius, a runny nose, and raised leukocyte levels. An X-ray report revealed bronchial lesions behind the mitral valve.

Her grandmother was initially infected by one of eight workers returning from training in Wuhan on January 17. On January 28, both the baby and her mother were quarantined after visiting their aged relative in Binh Xuyen District of northern Vinh Phuc Province.

The biggest challenges when treating her was that she is very young, her immune system is weak, and damages can happen any time. Doctors were constantly monitoring her and gave her more care than other child patients, said doctor Nguyen Van Lam, Director of the Center for Pediatric Tropical Diseases under Vietnam National Children’s Hospital.  Medical staff tending to the infant had to wear specialized facemasks. After coming into contact with her, they sanitized their entire protection outfits. A group of four doctors and nurses who directly treated her were also put in quarantine to keep potential infection in check if any.

Doctor Nguyen Van Lam, director of the Center for Pediatric Tropical Diseases under Vietnam National Children’s Hospital, said: "The biggest challenge was treating someone with such an undeveloped immune system, which is easily damaged."

Medical staff tending the infant had to wear specialized face masks and had to sanitize their entire protective outfits after contact. A group including four doctors and nurses who treated her was placed in quarantine to keep potential infection in check.

The infant’s mother was with her every day in the hospital. To prevent her from contracting with the virus, the mother was told not to breastfeed but to feed her milk with a spoon. She also wore a protective suit and facemask like the medical staff. The mother has tested negative for the novel coronavirus twice, but she is still quarantined for further monitoring.  The picture shows the mother holding her daughter spoke to the doctors through a phone before she was discharged from the hospital on Thursday.  She expressed her gratitude for their efforts throughout the 10-day treatment. When she’s grown up and does well in school, she will also become a doctor to help others, the mother said.

The infant’s mother, swathed in protective gear, remained by her side throughout the procedure, feeding her milk with a spoon to avoid direct contact. Still in quarantine, she twice tested negative for the coronavirus.

The mother (pictured) expressed her gratitude to doctors and staff via video-call before leaving the hospital on Thursday. "She will study hard to become a doctor and help other children like you do," she said.

After 10 days in the hospital, her fever went away, her eating and defacation demonstrated no issue. Her biochemical, hematological and X-ray test results were normal. Both Covid-19 tests showed negative results.  On Thursday morning, doctors escorted the mother-daughter pair to the emergency car which brought them to their home in Vinh Phuc Province.

After 10 days, with all tests revealing the baby to be healthy, she and her mother were transported to Vinh Phuc Province.

According to Professor Le Thanh Hai at the hospital, the baby girl will be admitted to the Medical Center of Binh Xuyen district in the province for further monitoring. This is a huge achievement and efforts of the doctors and nurses who directly treated the baby, said Luong Ngoc Khue, Head of Agency of Health Examination and Treatment under the Ministry of Health.

The baby girl will be admitted to the Medical Center of Binh Xuyen District for further monitoring. 

Vietnam has so far recorded 16 cases of infection, of whom 15 have recovered.

As of Friday, the global death toll had climbed to 2,247, with 11 outside mainland China, and confirmed infections topped 76,200. More than 18,000 of those have recovered.

 
 
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