Manukau Courier : December 17th 2010
www.manukaucourier.co.nz Friday, December 17, 2010 Child health at risk Sticking around: Paediatrician Dr Adrian Trenholme has just completed research that shows high numbers of babies continue to show symptoms of respiratory illness a year after going to hospital. Photo: SHANE WENZLICK By MELISSA KINEALY BABIES in south Auckland have more in common with tiny American Indians and Alaskan natives when it comes to getting sick and staying sick, a Kidz First paediatrician says. The district is also a world leader'' in bronchiolitis, a chest infection in infants, and it's all down to poor housing, Dr Adrian Trenholme says. The high number of kids admitted to the children's hospital with chronic breath- ing illnesses pushed him into researching the problem. Chronic respiratory ill- nesses can damage a child's heart later in life and it's about time something was done to fix the problem, he says. Dr Trenholme studied tots under two who were admitted to hospital with severe breathing infections between August and December 2007. Then he looked at how many were still sick a year later. A staggering 70 percent were found with symptoms or signs suggesting chronic res- piratory disease. Three had already been diagnosed with bronchiectasis, a chronic infection of the lungs. It's a chest infection that never goes away and can cause early death, Dr Trenholme says. Of the 94 babies followed up, 64 had one or more abnormal outcomes'', such as a history of a chronic moist cough or abnormal chest x-rays. Our rates of admission to hospital with respiratory infections are comparative with American Indians and Alaskan natives -- our kids have more in common with these kids,'' he says. Hospital admissions for chronic respiratory illnesses aren't seasonal -- they happen all year round and the impact on the children is huge, he says. Little babies can just stop breathing for no reason. They get a cold, coughing, wheez- ing, breathing distress. Some need breathing support or go to intensive care.'' Poor housing lies behind the statistics, Dr Trenholme says. If you could change some- thing fundamental, change the housing. Dry houses go a long way towards sorting these issues out,'' he says. Overcrowding in homes, smoking and generally poor living circumstances also con- tribute to high rates of sick- ness in youngsters, he says. Dr Trenholme plans to use the information he's collected in a research and inter- vention project next year. The scheme will look at ways of giving the district's babies more of a fighting chance against respiratory illness. Driver escaped custody By DAVID TAURANGA The 13-year-old driver killed in a high-speed car crash in Manurewa on Wednesday had been in Child, Youth and Family custody but ab- sconded from his caregiver's Kaitaia home in September. Police yesterday named the dead boy as Isaiah Nathan. Child, Youth and Family general manager operations Marama Wiki says he had been in the department's cus- tody since April 2009. We were informed on September 20 this young man had absconded from the caregiver's home and a miss- ing person report was filed with the police the same day,'' she says. Staff have made contact with several members of the young man's family a number of times in an effort to seek their help in finding him.'' An extended family mem- ber had told CYF's staff the young man was being hidden by his family for at least some of the time he was missing, Ms Wiki says. Isaiah's family members have since been contacted by staff to offer whatever sup- port they can, she says. This is a terrible tragedy and our condolences and sympathies go to those who loved this young man. We will continue to work with the family and the police as the investigation con- tinues,'' Ms Wiki says. The stolen car in which Isaiah and four other passengers, aged 13 to 14, were travelling in, lost con- trol on a bend shortly after 7am. It skidded at least 100 metres down Windsford St and ploughed through a fence on the corner of Fairlight Place before coming to a rest on the opposite side of the road. Police says alcohol and speed were factors and they estimate the vehicle was travelling at more than 100kmh in a 50kmh zone. We wish all our readers a very merry Christmas and a happy New Year. Our office is now closed for the holidays, reopening on January 6. Special issues will be in your letterbox next week and on December 30 and January 6.
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