UPDATE : Friday, July 3, 2020
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17-year-old boy died after testing negative multiple timesIf body test comes positive, he could become 1st COVID-19 teen death case
  • By Kwak Sung-sun
  • Published 2020.03.19 12:53
  • Updated 2020.03.19 17:16
  • comments 0

The Korean public is paying close attention to a 17-year-old teenager who died after testing negative for the new coronavirus (COVID-19) multiple times.

The Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC) said although he tested negative multiple times, an additional DNA test on the body showed a possibility of a positive result.

KCDC Director Jeong Eun-kyeong makes a news briefing on Wednesday.

The health authorities said his case was “undetermined” and officials were waiting for the result of the body test. The boy, a resident of Daegu, has been hospitalized due to headaches and pneumonia.

The patient had no China travel record and refrained from meeting other people for three weeks before he developed symptoms, according to news reports. On March 10, he was out to buy a mask and started to have a headache that night, reports said. He developed a fever the next day and visited Gyeongsan Joongang Hospital on Friday. As his X-ray showed that he had pneumonia symptoms, he was transferred to Yeungnam University Hospital.

“Even though multiple test results came negative, some DNA tests came positive. So, we are assessing the case as undecided. We secured the specimen and we are doing a confirmation test,” KCDC Director Jeong Eun-kyeong said at a press briefing on Wednesday.

“The patient was hospitalized due to a headache or pneumonia. As the case is still undecided, we will assess whether he was infected with COVID-19 or not depending on the final result of the confirmation test,” she added.

Jeong cited Chinese statistics to explain the fatality rate of COVID-19 infected teens.

Out of 44,000 Chinese confirmed patients as of Feb. 11, 549 were aged between 10 and 19 and one of them died, she said. No Chinese confirmed patient aged nine or younger died from COVID-19 infection, she added.

In Korea, there were 430 confirmed cases among children as of Wednesday and all of them had mild symptoms.

If the body test on the 17-year-old patient comes positive, he will be the first death case among teenager patients of COVID-19 in Korea.


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