Woman who had recovered from Covid-19 dies of lung infection

People wait for Covid-19 vaccination in Prachuap Khiri Khan's Muang district. (Photo: Chaiwat Satyaem)
People wait for Covid-19 vaccination in Prachuap Khiri Khan’s Muang district. (Photo: Chaiwat Satyaem)

PRACHUAP KHIRI KHAN: A senior district official who had recovered from Covid-19 in April died on Tuesday after being hospitalised with severe lung inflammation.

Wannee Khongthong, 58, deputy district chief of registration, died while receiving treatment at Prachuap Khiri Khan Hospital, Muang district chief Sarawut Jirapithakkul said on Thursday .

He said her work colleagues had donated blood to help her, to no avail.

He said Wannee had previously been infected with the coronavirus disease and been treated, diagnosed as recovered and discharged in April. 

About one week after she returned to work she developed symptoms of exhaustion and shortness of breath and returned to Prachuap Khiri Khan Hospital for Covid-19 testing.

The result was negative, but an X-ray showed white spots in her lungs, Mr Sarawut said.

Before being infected with the Covid-19 virus, Wannee and other staff in the registration unit had visited villages to provide ID cards for bed-ridden patients and elderly people, the Muang district chief said.

She and two other staff members had contracted Covid-19 and sought treatment at the hospital. After they had recovered, they self-quarantined at home for 14 days before returning to work, Mr Sarawut said.

Dr Suriya Khuharat, chief of the provincial public health office, said the woman’s death was an interesting medical case study. Relatives could take her body for funeral rites as normal because she had not died from Covid-19.  

Wannee had suffered from hypertension and was treated for Covid-19 from April 14-30, and was discharged from hospital with no symptoms.

On May 27, she had breathing difficulties but no cough or excessive phlegm, which are common Covid-19 symptoms.

She was able to eat without vomiting, but had a fever. She tested negative for Covid-19, but had a severe lung inflammation, Dr Suriya said.

The patient was put on a respirator. The hospital found she had a blood infection, respiratory failure and acute renal failure. She died on June 15, the provincial health chief said.  

Asked if it was possible her illness was caused by her previous Covid-19 infection, he said there had been no reports in Thailand of people who recovered from the virus catching the disease again.

Besides, the woman showed no symptoms indicating her lungs were damaged during her earlier infection, Dr Suriya said.

If relatives wanted further investigation, they should provide tissue samples for testing at King Chulalongkorn Memorial Hospital and Siriraj Hospital, to find out whether her death was related to Covid-19 or not, he said.