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Her Mom Thought She Had a Cold. Then She Lost Her Sight

Jade DeLucia can now see again after a frightening bout with the flu
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 9, 2020 8:58 AM CDT

(Newser) – It's been a traumatic couple of months for the family of Jade DeLucia, but the news has been getting better. Per KCRG, the Iowa 4-year-old started feeling sick in the days before Christmas, but mom Amanda Phillips thought she just had a cold. Then, on Christmas Eve, Jade was hit with a high fever, and her parents rushed her to the ER. After having a seizure there, Jade was airlifted to a children's hospital, where her parents were given a frightening diagnosis: She had the flu, but also acute necrotizing encephalopathy, or ANE, a rare disease often brought on by viral infections. "They said our child might not ever wake up, and if she did, she might not ever be the same," Phillips told CNN in January. She also told CNN Jade hadn't had a flu shot, as she'd had one last March; Phillips didn't know she needed a new shot for this flu season.

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After a scary week, Jade became more responsive, but the part of her brain that controls eyesight had been affected by the flu—she couldn't see. Then, another sigh of relief a few weeks after she went home: She regained her sight enough to get to the bathroom without touching the walls. Jade's grandmother warns other parents not to ignore signs of sickness in their own kids if they don't show signs of improvement after 24 to 48 hours. "Demand ... an influenza test," Courtney Frey tells CBS 17. Phillips, meanwhile, is grateful her daughter is alive. "It's incredibly hard and we're still learning" about ANE, which may still cause her daughter to have seizures, she posts on the Jade's Journey Facebook page. "But I will never give up because she's not giving up." WXII reports that 136 children have died this season from the flu, per the latest stats from the Centers for Disease Control. (Read more uplifting news stories.)

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