Eastern Iowa Girl Blinded by Flu Has Her Sight Back
Just over three months ago, Stephen DeLucia of Waterloo didn't know if his 4-year-old daughter Jade would survive a bout of influenza. After she did, he soon realized she could no longer see and doctors didn't know if she ever would again. Jade's sight is back but the family is waiting on the results of an important test.
Jade DeLucia started running a high fever on Christmas Eve. Her mom, Amanda Phillips, and dad quickly took her to a Waterloo hospital where she suffered a seizure. She was then flown to the University of Iowa Stead Family Children's Hospital in Iowa City. In January, Amanda told CNN,
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.
On Christmas Day, Stephen and Amanda were told the flu that Jade was experiencing had resulted in significant brain damage. Amanda said, Jade's MRI results were,
Lit up like a Christmas tree. They said she had significant brain damage. They said our child might not ever wake up, and if she did, she might not ever be the same.
Jade was suffering from acute necrotizing encephalopathy (ANE). It's extremely rare and is typically caused by a viral infection. She would be almost totally unresponsive for a week.
January 1, 2020, Jade woke up and smiled. Unfortunately, it didn't take long to realize she could no longer see.
January 9, Jade went home. Just a few weeks later, she regained her sight seemingly as quickly as she had lost it. However, the family is waiting for the results of a test. A test that will show if she's genetically disposed to ANE. If she is, Jade may continue to experience seizures, even if she doesn't have the flu.
Over the weekend, Michelle Phillips told CNN, "She's doing awesome. We're excited, no matter what."
There are two things the family wants you to know. They're VERY appreciative of everyone in Iowa and around the world who have been praying for Jade, and their entire family. And secondly, vaccinate your kids before every flu season. Jade had been given a flu vaccine in March of 2019 but Michelle thought that, like some other vaccines, it was good for an entire year.
Dr. Adam Ratner is a pediatric infectious disease specialist at NYU Langone Health in New York City. He says,
I'm less interested in whether the vaccine prevents all cases of runny noses and feeling cruddy and having to stay home from school because of the flu. That's no fun, but you get the vaccine not so much to prevent that as to prevent the chances of having a horrible complication of the flu.
Say some more prayers for Jade and her family. She continues to show signs of brain damage, according to the Jade's Journey Facebook page, and the results of her genetic test aren't expected for about three weeks.