As dozens of children have died from the flu already this season, medical professionals are urging parents to get their children vaccinated against the flu.
What started out as a low-grade fever for one child, turned out to be far more serious. By Christmas Eve, four-year-old Jade Delucia was unresponsive.
“She was just laying in her bed not moving. Her eyes were kind of up in her head and she wouldn’t wake up,” Jade’s mother Amanda Phillips said.
Delucia had the flu. But even worse – a rare complicating infection was attacking her brain.
Although Delucia had gotten her flu shot last March, she did not receive her flu shot for the current season which started this fall.
Dr. Alex Bassuk treated Delucia after she was transported in a medevac helicopter to the University of Iowa Children’s Hospital.
“The key point in this case is that it has to happen every season. The vaccine is not a once in a lifetime vaccine,” Dr. Bassuk said.
The start of this flu season is the earliest since 2003, and it’s hitting children particularly hard.
Already, there have been a total of 32 pediatric deaths reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention – the highest number at this point of the season in five years.
While Jade Delucia steadily improved in the hospital and is now home, the infection has robbed her of her sight – at least for now.
When asked if the blindness was irreversible, Dr. Bassuk said, “It’s hard to know at this point. There can be recovery. We are still hopeful.”