23-Year-Old Singapore Student Diagnosed With Flu Dies 2 Months Later

23-Year-Old Singapore Student Diagnosed With Flu Dies 2 Months Later

A Singaporean student died after he was diagnosed to have the Epstein-Barr Virus. Here is what you need to know about Epstein-Barr virus symptoms...

When 23-year-old Singaporean student Benedict James Naden-Lim fell ill in mid-June (2019), his doctor diagnosed it as a minor flu. He only had fever and mild rashes then. 2½ months later though, the youngster died from complications, after he was diagnosed to have the Epstein-Barr Virus (EBV).

His condition deteriorated in a month...

Naden-Lim’s father told Lianhe Zaobao that his condition deteriorated in July, and he had to be rushed to hospital A&E. He was diagnosed to have the Epstein-Barr Virus (EBV), which has symptoms similar to the flu.

In rare cases, EBV can develop into rare complications such as cancer and hemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis (HLH). 

Tests revealed that the infection had affected his liver and kidney, and his lungs were filled with fluid. Three weeks after he was hospitalised, Naden-Lim was also diagnosed with T-cell lymphoma, a rare type of cancer.

Epstein-Barr virus symptoms

On 26 August 2019, he suffered a seizure and bleeding in his brain, and had to undergo cranial surgery.

Unfortunately, on 31 August 2019, around an hour after he had surgery to relieve the pressure in his brain, Naden-Lim passed away.

Our heartfelt condolences go out to the family of this young man...

Epstein-Barr virus symptoms to take note of

Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) is a member of the herpes virus family. It is one of the most common human viruses.

EBV spreads most commonly through bodily fluids, especially saliva. However, EBV can also spread through blood and semen during sexual contact, blood transfusions, and organ transplantations.

EBV can cause infectious mononucleosis, also called mono (kissing disease), and other illnesses.

There is no vaccine to protect against EBV infection. You can protect yourself by not kissing or sharing drinks, food, or personal items, like toothbrushes, with people who have EBV infection.

Epstein-Barr virus symptoms

Once you're infected with EBV, symptoms can take 4 to 6 weeks to show up. In young children, Epstein-Barr virus symptoms tend to be mild, and can often be mistaken for a cold or flu.

Teens and adults usually have more obvious symptoms.

Symptoms of EBV infection can include:

  • fatigue
  • fever
  • inflamed throat
  • white patches on your tonsils
  • swollen lymph nodes in the neck
  • enlarged spleen
  • swollen liver
  • rash
  • lack of appetite
  • weakness and sore muscles

Epstein-Barr virus symptoms

Diagnosis and Treatment for EBV infection

Epstein-Barr virus symptoms are similar to symptoms of other illnesses. EBV infection can be confirmed with a blood test that detects antibodies. Your doctor will also check to see if you have a swollen liver and white patches on your tonsils, and if your spleen is enlarged.

There is no specific treatment for EBV, and treatment involves relieving symptoms. Here are some tips:

  • Drink lots of fluids to stay hydrated
  • Get plenty of rest, especially in the first month. Avoid sports, lifting heavy things and other strenuous activities in which you could injure your spleen.
  • Take medications to bring down fever and relieve body aches
  • For relief of sore throat, suck on lozenges or ice pops, or gargle with warm salt water

Most people who get diagnosed with an EBV infection get better in 2 to 4 weeks. However, some people may feel fatigued for several weeks or even months.

See your doctor immediately in case of:

  • Sudden, sharp pain on the left side of the belly, which could mean a problem with your spleen
  • Very little urine, a sign of dehydration
  • Trouble breathing or swallowing
  • If your symptoms don't go away after 4 to 6 weeks

Also READ: What you need to know about glandular fever in children

(Source: The Straits Times, CDC, WebMD)

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