THE flu left an unvaccinnated girl, 4, blind and suffering from brain damage after nearly dying from the flu this season.
Jade DeLucia from Iowa didn’t get a flu shot this winter and suffered a severe bout of the virus, leaving her in the intensive care unit for a fortnight.
Little Jade caught the virus days before Christmas but things rapidly took a turn for the worse as she lost her sight.
She suffered a seizure which left her unresponsive in hospital days later as the severe strain of influenza B took hold.
Jade’s parents say her flu-like symptoms began on December 19 – they found her unresponsive in her bed by Christmas Eve.
Her mother Amanda Phillips told CNN: “I was like, ‘We have to go. We have to to the emergency room. This isn’t right. Something’s not right with her.’
When her frantic family arrived at Covenant Medical Center, Jade started violently shaking uncontrollably and her eyes rolling.
Things got so bad the little tot had to be airlifed 80 miles to the the University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital.
Speaking about that moment, her dad Stephen DeLucia said: “I didn’t think I was going to see her again at that point.
“I really didn’t. Just from looking at her, I really honestly didn’t think I was going to see her.”
Just from looking at her, I really honestly didn’t think I was going to see her [again].
Jade’s dad, Stephen DeLucia
Jade’s immune system had begun to attack her brain as a result of the Influenza B virus which resulted in brain swelling.
Her parents could only look on as their four-year-old lay unresponsive with a ventilator breathing for her.
Amanda and Stephen found out the aggressive flu virus affected Jade’s brain on Christmas Day.
Although after the new year she woke up and began talking but it was clear the virus had ravaged her sight.
Her neurologist Theresa Czech noted “it affected the part of her brain that perceives sight.”
“We don’t know if she’s going to get her vision back,” she told CNN. “In about three to six months from now we’ll know.
“Whatever recovery she has at six months, that’s likely all she’s going to get.”
Jade went home on January 9 but the consequences of her illness – including the possibility of learning difficulties – have yet to be seen.
“We are home,” her mom wrote on Facebook. “Words I didn’t think I’d get to post for weeks to come.
“But, here she is. My sweet baby girl…My brave girl who cannot see but is so loved by so many.”
My brave girl who cannot see but is so loved by so many.
Jade’s mom Amanda Phillips
A GoFundMe page has been established to help Jade’s family with her medical bills.
She and her sister received a flu shot last March – their mom thought the shot was good for an entire year.
But they didn’t receive the new 2019-2020 flu season vaccine. Now, Jade’s parents are urging other moms and dads to do so.
Because this ferocious virus is subject to change every year, the preventative vaccine also changes.
The CDC recommends getting one by the end of October to prevent the winter flu.
The vaccine may only be 40 to 60 percent effective but it stops the virus from being life-threatening, experts say.
Idaho schoolgirl Liliana ‘Lily’ Clark, 13, also died from flu complications on January 5.
She was diagnosed on December 27 after she went to an urgent care clinic complaining of a sore throat and fever.
Lily was prescribed antiviral medication called Tamiflu but she was hospitalized two days later, struggling to breathe.
She was diagnosed with pneumonia, staphylococcus aureus, and bleeding on the brain.
She died on January 5 days before her 14th birthday from flu-related illnesses.
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This flu virus affects children more than adults and has been on the rise in the US.
The CDC confirmed 21 of the 32 flu fatalities were a result of the influenza B virus.
On Friday, health officials in Michigan confirmed two children died in the 2019-20 season from the flu after the new year.
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