Triple whammy: Nine-year-old boy in Singapore suffers Covid-19, myocarditis and stroke

Associate Professor Mok Yee Hui, head and senior consultant of KKH’s Children’s Intensive Care Unit, says myocarditis can be caused by viral or bacterial infections; parasitic infections; or autoimmune diseases that would mistakenly lead the immune system to attack the heart tissue.

Associate Professor Jonathan Choo, head and senior consultant of KKH’s Cardiology Service, says that while Covid-19 can infect the cells of the heart, leading to inflammation and damage, “it is rare and most patients with Covid-19 do not develop myocarditis”.

Matt’s parents do not know how their son could have contracted Covid-19. Ms Reyes tested Matt and herself before returning to Singapore on Jan 4 from a holiday in the Philippines. They were both negative.

However, Matt tested positive for Covid-19 while hospitalised. He had never been infected before, though both his parents have had Covid-19.

Matt is unvaccinated against Covid-19 because his parents were worried that the vaccination could lead to myocarditis. “The reverse happened,” Ms Reyes says.

In October 2023, The Straits Times reported the Ministry of Health as saying that the incidence of vaccine-related myocarditis has remained rare, with reporting rates of one per 100,000 doses (0.001 per cent) for the monovalent vaccines and 0.4 per 100,000 doses (0.0004 per cent) for the bivalent vaccines.

Prof Choo of KKH says the post-discharge therapeutic regime for someone with myocarditis would include medication to optimise heart function and reduce heart inflammation and blood clots.

He adds that patients will need to gradually restore movement and function, and should avoid strenuous activities. “They are given follow-up appointments with a cardiologist to monitor the heart function and physical progress, and treatment plans are adjusted accordingly.”

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