Alert as girl dies of chickenpox




A WARNING has gone out to parents after an eight-year-old girl died from complications arising from chickenpox.

Indian Abiya Shreya Jophy, a grade three student at the Indian School Bahrain (ISB), died at Salmaniya Medical Complex (SMC) on Sunday after being diagnosed with pneumonia.

Health experts are now advising parents not to underestimate the risks associated with chickenpox, warning it can sometimes lead to potentially fatal conditions.

“Chickenpox could always lead to low immunity levels and it is possible that the child could have contracted pneumonia, a bacterial infection, with the current weather adding to it,” Al Hilal Hospital chief executive Dr Sai Giridhar told the GDN.

Abiya contracted chickenpox from her five-year-old brother Abner and had been treated at home with Panadol since Thursday.

The illness is most common in children and results in an itchy rash all over the body, as well as flu-like symptoms, and is very contagious.

It is rare for a patient to die, but Abiya is said to have started vomiting on Saturday night before being admitted to SMC on Sunday morning, where she died at 9.30pm.

Her other brother Adriel, also five, is currently receiving treatment for chickenpox at SMC.

Abner and Adriel, who are twins, attend the New Zinj Kindergarten.

Paediatrician Dr Siam Mohan said he had come across several cases where chickenpox had led to respiratory infections in children.

“I have received many such cases and parents should know that chickenpox is not self-limiting,” he said.

“This means it could always lead to complications like pneumonia or meningitis.

“Along with Panadol a doctor will always prescribe antiviral drugs which prevent complications and replication of the virus.”

Meanwhile, Abiya’s father Jophy Cherian told the GDN that the family was now coming to terms with their loss.

“Abner had recovered and then Abiya and Adriel got the infection on Thursday morning,” he said.

“She was fine and active until Saturday night, though she had blisters on her body, but later developed high fever and we gave her Panadol.

“She complained of throat pain and did not eat anything – and at night ended up vomiting.

“Early on Sunday morning she had an upset stomach and was repeatedly vomiting so we took her to SMC Accident and Emergency at around 10.30am.


“She was taken into the paediatric ward at around 11.45am. By then she was dehydrated and they immediately administered intravenous fluid.

“A CT scan and X-ray revealed that she suffered from pneumonia and, according to the doctors, her case was a rare kind where the symptoms of the disease (pneumonia) were hidden.

“She was later moved to the recovery room, where she died.”

The family is now awaiting permission from doctors to repatriate Abiya’s body to Chengannur, in Kerala, for burial. “We need doctors to issue permission for Adriel to travel as well as discharge him before we take back Abiya’s body to India,” said Mr Cherian, who works at East Ceramica. Abiya’s mother, Shiny Philip, is a staff nurse at SMC and the couple have lived in Bahrain since 1998.

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