A sense of shock and loss reverberated through Krugersdorp on Sunday when an announcement was made by Laerskool Kenmare that one of its Grade 4 students had passed away.
Connor Willson was admitted to hospital after he indicated symptoms of a serious case of flu. Although many rumours have spread on social media and through the public that his passing might have had something to do with complications from the H1N1 influenza virus, more commonly known as swine flu, it should be made clear that no post-mortem results have been made public, reports Krugersdorp News.
Connor’s mother contacted the school on Monday morning and said that swine flu was not the cause of his death – Connor had contracted a serious case of pneumonia, and that it seemed his lungs failed because of it.
It’s clear from this that fears of swine flu should not completely overshadow other diseases and symptoms such as pneumonia, and that special care should be taken with any virus during this period. But, concerns about swine flu this winter are still high and the disease should be carefully guarded against.
Laerskool Kenmare’s principal, Wouter Immelman, said in a statement on Facebook on Sunday: “I asked the staff to make a survey regarding confirmed incidents of swine flu under our students over the past week. With a deviation of one or two, there were 12 students that were diagnosed with swine flu.”
This said, Laerskool Kenmare has implored parents to keep a watchful eye on their children, to take them to a doctor or hospital as soon as they experience any of the symptoms, and to notify the school immediately if a child is diagnosed with the H1N1 or a similar virus.
This advice should be applied to all parents and children from all schools in the West Rand area, where the virus seems to be prevalent.
Symptoms may include:
High fever (although this may not always be present), cold chills, a dry cough (but be mindful of any cough), sore throat, a runny nose, watery/red eyes, body pain, headaches, low appetite, fatigue, diarrhoea, nausea, and vomiting.
Dr Jano de Beer from Noordheuwel noted in an email to the school that: “The most important thing to do as soon as H1N1 is diagnosed is to keep your child calm. It’s recommended that one of the parents look after the child, because a deterioration [in the child’s condition] or aggravation of symptoms can more easily be picked up by a parent.
“With enough rest and plenty of liquids to prevent dehydration, the body’s immunity in a healthy child will destroy the virus.”