23-Year-Old S’porean Swimmer Gets ‘Flu’, Turns Out To Be A Virus Which Kills Him

Competitive Swimmer Dies After Deadly Infection He Thought Was Flu

23-year-old Benedict Naden was a competitive swimmer and in the prime of his life.


Fate was, however, cruel to him.

Last Saturday (31 Aug), Benedict passed away after suffering a series of deadly complications from an Epstein-Barr virus (EPV) infection.

He initially received treatment for the common flu, given the similarities in symptoms.

23-year-old swimmer thought he had the common flu

According to Lianhe Wanbao, Benedict – a student at the Singapore Institute of Management – developed a fever and rashes earlier in June.


He went to a clinic to seek medical treatment and was reportedly given medication for the common flu.

His condition did not improve after consuming the medicine. Instead, one month later, his condition allegedly deteriorated and he was rushed to the A&E department.

Found out it was something deadlier

After further examination at the hospital, Benedict was reportedly found to be infected with Epstein-Barr virus (EBV).

EBV infections are extremely common and most adults may have been infected by it at some point in their lives. Symptoms of an EBV infection is similar to that of the common flu.

But Benedict wasn’t as lucky. His body allegedly reacted differently to the virus and was later diagnosed with Hemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis — a condition similar to leukaemia which requires chemotherapy treatment.

Doctors also found that his liver and kidneys were beginning to fail, according to Lianhe Wanbao.


Passed away shortly after internal bleeding in his brain

In a strange series of events, Benedict’s condition reportedly took a turn for the better 3 weeks after he was hospitalised.

Just as he was about to undergo chemotherapy, he was diagnosed with lymphoma.

But Benedict’s condition went on a downward spiral from there. Last Monday (26 Aug), he suffered internal bleeding on the left side of his brain.

He underwent surgery 5 days later on 31 Aug but tragically passed away 1 hour after the procedure, in the intensive care unit.

Extremely rare chances of dying from EBV infection

While the circumstances of Benedict’s passing is tragic, it is made worse by the fact that cases like his are extremely rare. To be precise, 1 in every 1.2 million patients.

As symptoms of an EBV infection is extremely similar to that of the common flu, it is common for doctors to diagnose incorrectly.

A doctor interviewed by Lianhe Wanbao advised members of the public to undergo a physical examination if flu symptoms do not subside after 3 days.

To avoid getting infected by the EBV virus, he urged people to wash their hands after touching objects in the public.

Rest in peace, Benedict

Our condolences go out to the friends and family of the bereaved. We hope he’s in a better place now and is rid of any sufferings.

Let this be a lesson to all to be extra careful when they fall ill, and not take things lightly.

Featured image adapted from Facebook

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