Disease that killed teen ‘not rare’

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INDEPENDENT NEWSPAPERS

Pietermaritzburg Girls High pupil Carla Serfontein, 14, died on Monday after spending 18 days in an induced coma at Netcare St Annes Hospital in Pietermaritzburg. Picture: Kim Ludbrook

KwaZulu-Natal - Necrotic pneumonia – the disease responsible for the death of a Pietermaritzburg teenager – was not “rare”, nor was it contagious, the National Institute for Communicable Studies sys.

The disease was in the spotlight this week when Pietermaritzburg Girls’ High pupil Carla Serfontein, 14, died on Monday after spending 18 days in an induced coma at Netcare St Anne’s Hospital in Pietermaritzburg.

She had only been sick for a day before being admitted to hospital in mid-August.

Dr Lucille Blumberg, of the institute, told The Mercury on Thursday that necrotic pneumonia was caused by bacteria, which would result in damage to the tissues of the lungs.

“Necrotic pneumonia is basically a severe form of pneumonia and it is not contagious at all.”

Blumberg said the disease was prevalent and described it as something that was a “very common problem in SA” but not widely reported.

“Certain patients take antibiotics, get better, overcome the disease and survive while others, unfortunately, die,” she said.

Since her death, tributes and messages of support have poured in for the teenager, with a Facebook page “Pray for Carla Serfontein” having almost 1 000 visits.

People had donated money, in an effort to raise about R350 000 for Carla – who has a twin sister – to receive good medical care while others donated blood.

During her 18 days at the hospital, people visited her daily, posting messages of support on the Facebook page, at the same time interacting with Carla’s mother, Deirdre Gordon Serfontein.

She updated people on a daily basis about her daughter’s condition via the page.

A week before her daughter died, Serfontein had posted on Facebook: “I got to hospital to see a doctor who looked frayed and nurses and sisters who were absolutely frazzled.

“They are tested beyond the call of mere duty. And they are rising to the occasion every shift.” - The Mercury


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