2-year-old Layla Thomas is left fighting for her life after contracting flu which turned into a rare brain disease called necrotizing encephalopathy.
The little girl from St. Louis, Missouri has been in the pediatric intensive care unit for 11 days. Doctors were forced to put her in a coma and she was given scores of blood transfusions.
Layla’s doctors said she has a 50-50 chance of survival. Her parents desperately wait for progress while loved ones and relatives raise money to pay for high medical bills.
The two-year-old’s misery started only two weeks ago when she experienced mild flu-like symptoms.
Her aunt Jessica Kile told KMOV4: “She had just a runny nose, maybe a little cough but nothing out of the ordinary that we hadn’t seen before.”
Her temperature suddenly rose to 107F and she was immediately taken to hospital where her condition deteriorated rapidly.
“She’s completely unresponsive and is making small eye movements,” Kile said.
Doctors said Layla had a rare development of the flu called necrotic encephalitis, which is rare, with only 59 cases recorded. One-third of the patients do not survive the condition.
The virus develops from influenza to inflammation of the brain. When symptoms or not apparent or mild, it starts swelling and damaging areas of the brain. It eventually starts killing off brain tissue, and that is when the disease becomes severe.
Patients first experience flu-like symptoms then develop hallucinations, seizures, and difficulty coordinating movements.
A family friend wrote on their GoFundMe: “Only time will tell what her outcome will be. Layla is a fighter and has been showing small signs of improvement everyday!!!”
Even though Layla’s case is incredibly rare, health officials warn that the flu continues to circulate and it can result in grave complications. The CDC also urges people to get their flu shot.
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