The Centers for Disease Control announced yesterday the first death of the year from Invasive Pneumococcal Disease (IPD), calling for families with young children to be on heightened alert as cases of IPD infection in recent years have been high.
According to the centers, a one-and-a-half-year-old girl displayed symptoms, including coughing, rhinitis, vomiting and a fever, on April 1, and despite showing signs of improvement after hospital treatment, the symptoms returned on April 3.
The toddler was transferred to a hospital after being diagnosed with pneumonia, but the rapid progression of the disease rendered medical treatment ineffective, the centers said.
The toddler died from respiratory failure and septic shock, the centers said, adding that the child had not been immunized against IPD.
CDC Deputy Director-General Chuang Jen-hsiang (莊人祥) said the child may have contracted the strongest of the IPD family, streptococcus pneumonia 19A.
“Our data shows 265 cases of IPD infection as of Sunday, 29 of which included children under the age of five,” Chuang said, adding that 14 out of the 29 had the 19A type.
From 2008 to last year, there have been 120 to 200 cases of IPD infection among children under five years of age reported annually, and the average death rate is 3.3 percent, Chuang said, adding that parents should be on the alert because IPD 19A cases among infants in the nation have increased over the past few years.
Streptococcus pneumonia often causes severe pneumonia, meninges or septicemia, Chuang said, adding that vaccination cuts down the risk of complications and death drastically.
Vaccination also helps protect elderly people, Chuang said.
The centers has expanded its vaccination of children born between 2009 and last year who are one year old, but not yet two years old, for two shots of the PVC 13 strain, Chuang said.
Children who have not taken the PCV 10 shot before their first full year, but have received one shot of PCV 10 or PCV 13 before their second year, should also receive a second shot of the PCV 13 strain, Chuang said.
If children meet the requirements for vaccinations, they should be taken for the shots as soon as possible, Chuang said, adding that if children were born in 2009, they should receive the shots before the end of the year to benefit from the state-funded vaccinations.