Children in Kerala battle complications following viral infection waves

Three-year-old Rahul N had barely started going to playschool, in June, when he developed secondary complications from an infection he suffered days earlier.

Published: 19th August 2022 06:58 AM  |   Last Updated: 19th August 2022 06:58 AM   |  A+A-

Express News Service

KOCHI: Three-year-old Rahul N had barely started going to playschool, in June, when he developed secondary complications from an infection he suffered days earlier. After joining playschool, the Thrissur resident had developed cough and fever, which subsided after treatment. But a few days later, he started appearing tired and irritable, with temperature rising again. Tests revealed he had severe anaemia, mild jaundice and kidney complications. And the doctors identified that he had developed haemolysis (breakdown of red blood cells), caused by the formation of antibodies in his blood.

In another instance, a 16-year-old boy from Alappuzha ended up coughing blood, days after he was cured of fever and cold.“The boy had difficulty breathing. Scans showed he was bleeding into the little sacs in his lungs due to severe lung inflammation. The findings were suggestive of a condition called Diffuse Alveolar Haemorrhage, which can have very serious consequences,” said a doctor. Uncontrolled infections end up worsening the patient’s health, if left untreated in the initial stages. Immune-mediated issues that arise as secondary complications, even from minor viral infections, are cause for serious concern.

According to experts, of late, the monsoon season and the reopening of schools, more and more children are falling prey to such illnesses. The key to tackling these secondary complications is early treatment, they say.

“There are a host of viruses, spreading many kinds of infections. A majority of patients recover from these infections. In some cases, the patient is hit with secondary complications. Sometimes, it would be a continuation of the primary illness, and at other times, the secondary complication occurs after a gap of 10 to 14 days. Patients who seemingly get better from the primary illness sink suddenly into ill-health due to the secondary complications,” said Dr Suma Balan, a paediatric rheumatologist in Kochi.

Due to widespread awareness about Covid, everybody assumes that all complications are connected with multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children (MISC), she pointed out. “Any infection involving the influenza virus, H1N1 or parainfluenza can lead to complications. Sometimes, antibiotics are not enough, and immunomodulation and supportive therapy may be required. Immune-mediated complications are common childhood infections,” Dr Suma said.  

Dr K V Varghese, an immunologist based in Thrissur, pointed out that secondary complications arising out of viral infections can be in any form. “Identification of the complication and treating the root cause are vital. Such complications can happen at any age,” he said.

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