A middle school student's history of asthma might be one reason behind his critical condition after being infected by H1N1 flu, a local disease control expert said yesterday.
The 17-year-old flu patient in Guangzhou has been in a coma for more than a week after he developed a fever, with his temperature reaching 39.4 C last Wednesday, according to the provincial health department.
The patient, surnamed Qiu, is the first patient on the mainland to be in critical condition as a result of the flu, it said.
"The patient had a history of asthma in his childhood, which might partly lead to his serious condition," He Jianfeng, an expert at the Guangdong provincial disease control and prevention center, told China Daily yesterday.
Qiu's parents and two brothers also were infected with the flu. They are still under observation at the Guangzhou No 8 People's Hospital but their temperatures are back to normal.
"We are still studying and analyzing the reasons behind the patient's serious condition," he said.
Qiu's critical status does not mean that the virus has become more dangerous, He said.
"But people should be vaccinated against the seasonal variety of the flu, given the double risk of H1N1 and the seasonal influenza," he said.
The student's heart had stopped and his blood pressure could not be measured when he was hospitalized in the Guangzhou Traditional Medicine Hospital a day after he caught a fever, according to the release.
He was transferred to the Guangzhou Institute of Respiratory Disease last Saturday.
The patient also developed symptoms of arrhythmia (irregular heart beat), ventricular fibrillation (heart muscle dysfunction), pneumonia and hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy (a condition in which the brain does not receive enough oxygen), according to a diagnosis by an expert group on Monday.
His heartbeat and blood pressure have improved thanks to efforts by a special treatment taskforce jointly set up by the Ministry of Health and the provincial health authorities.
However, he was still in a coma and listed in critical condition yesterday, sources with the Guangzhou health bureau said.
Qiu's second elder brother was first infected with the flu, but the infection source was not identified, a spokesman with the bureau said yesterday.
"Qiu might have been infected by his brother," the spokesman said.
The mainland has reported 2,425 cases of the flu, and 2,240 of those patients have already recovered, Ministry of Health officials said.
(China Daily August 14, 2009)