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One Month Infant In Mystery Covid-19 Death

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By Matabeleland North Correspondent


HWANGE: Health officials in Matabeleland North are cracking their heads to trace the source of a Covid-19 infection that claimed the country’s youngest victim, a less than one month old boy here last Thursday.

The infant was born with several congenital disorders (birth deformities) namely left polate, nasal hypo genesis and absence of septum which meant that space between his nostrils were too small.

He also had anal malposition and low set ears.

However, what baffles health officials is that the male infant’s 18-year-old mother and father both tested negative, with only a grandmother testing Covid-19 positive on Rapid Diagnostic Testing (RDT).

The grandfather who stays with the grandmother also tested negative.

The boy spent three weeks on admission to Mpilo Central Hospital in Bulawayo under the care of paediatricians before his mother took him back to Hwange after discharge.

Matabeleland North provincial medical director Munekai Padingani said it was impossible that the baby was born with the virus.

He said the congenital disorders exposed the infant to risk of contracting the virus as his immune system was compromised, adding that there was need to do extensive contact tracing and Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) tests on suspects including the baby’s parents.

PCR results of the boy’s 42-year-old grandmother who also resides in the same Lwendulu village with the infant’s parents are not yet out.

A report by Hwange Covid-19 Rapid Response Team stated the deceased was booked for surgery so he could be operated on for the deformities.

“On 9 August information was received that the deceased baby boy who was born on 10 July at St Patrick’s Hospital in Hwange had died of cardiac arrest at home on 6 August. The boy had been admitted to Mpilo Central Hospital in Bulawayo for three weeks and only discharged last week before his death on August 6. Tests for Covid-19 were conducted posthumously and came back positive,” read the statement.

Contact tracing is underway.

At Mpilo hospital, the infant was being taken care of by paediatricians amid fears he could have been infected while hospitalised.

Bulawayo is one of the Covid-19 epicentres in Zimbabwe.