Fierce

Four Year Old Left Blind After She Caught A Severe Case Of The Flu—Her Parents Have A Message: Get Your Child Vaccinated

A 4-year-old Iowa girl was blinded and nearly died after catching the flu, according to a report—and her parents said doctors don’t know if she will ever see again. Jade DeLucia, who didn’t receive a flu shot this season, got sick a few days before Christmas and spent nearly two weeks in the intensive care unit at the University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital.

Jade DeLucia’s mother took her to the hospital on Christmas Eve when her fever became dangerously high.

www.gofundme.com

“I looked down at her and her eyes were in the back of her head,” Jade’s mom Amanda Phillips told NBC News. The four-year-old spent more than two weeks in the hospital, her mom said, and developed a disease called encephalopathy, a swelling of the brain that caused her to lose her vision.

This encephalopathy complication is not just relatively rare, it’s very, very rare; .21 per million is about 1 in 5 million.

www.gofundme.com

Doctors told Phillips they won’t know if her daughter’s vision loss is permanent for six months. “She is lucky to be alive,” one of her doctors, Theresa Czech, told CNN last week. “She’s a little fighter. And I think she’s super lucky.”

The parents rushed Jade to the hospital — where she began to have a seizure, they told the New York Post.

Amanda Phillips facebook.com

Jade began to feel ill Dec. 19. Her symptoms progressed until the morning of Christmas Eve, when her dad Stephen DeLucia went to check on her and found her in bed unresponsive, with her body burning hot, the outlet reported. “I was like, ‘We have to go. We have to go to the emergency room. This isn’t right. Something’s not right with her,” mom Amanda Phillips recalled.

On Christmas Day, they found out Jade was suffering from encephalopathy.

Amanda Phillips facebook.com

“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,” Phillips said. Czech, a pediatric neurologist, diagnosed Jade with acute necrotizing encephalopathy, or ANE, a type of encephalopathy usually caused by a viral infection. She prescribed steroids to help with the swelling in her brain.

Eventually, on Jan. 1, Jade woke up and began to get gradually better over the next few days.

Amanda Phillips facebook.com

But then, Phillips noticed that Jade wouldn’t look at her favorite stuffed animal, a white unicorn, even when it was in front of her face. “[The flu] affected the part of her brain that perceives sight, and we don’t know if she’s going to get her vision back,” said Czech.

Her parents have a message: Get your child vaccinated.

Amanda Phillips facebook.com

Phillips said she got her daughter vaccinated last March, and hoped that would work for the current season, but doctors say it’s crucial to get the vaccine in the fall before each season. “If I can stop one child from getting sick, that’s what I want to do,” said Amanda Phillips. “It’s terrible to see your child suffer like this.”

Every year, dozens of children die from the flu, and most of them had not received a flu shot, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Amanda Phillips facebook.com

Thousands more children are hospitalized. Many of those who becomes seriously ill or died were perfectly healthy before they contracted the flu. Jade is one of them.

This season’s flu strains are hitting children particularly hard, the Center for Disease Control said Friday.

https://twitter.com/CDCFlu/status/1215689262332551175?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw%7Ctwcamp%5Etweetembed%7Ctwterm%5E1215689262332551175&ref_url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.nbcnews.com%2Fhealth%2Fcold-and-flu%2Fseason-s-2-prominent-flu-strains-hitting-kids-young-particularly-n1113446

Two different flu strains are widespread, and there are twice as many pediatric flu deaths so far this year than at the same time last year, the CDC said.

The agency estimates that at least 9.7 million people have had the flu this season, with 87,000 hospitalizations and 4,800 deaths reported so far.

https://twitter.com/CDCFlu/status/1216751219215097858

Phillips hopes Jade’s story gets parents to take the flu seriously. “You do what’s best for your children,” she said. “You know your children.”

A GoFundMe page has been set up to help with Jade’s medical costs.

Amanda Phillips facebook.com

As for little Jade, she’s now at home recovering with her family at her side. On January 9 Phillips posted: ‘We are home. 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.’

Notice any needed corrections? Please email us at corrections@wearemitu.com

This Is How Cuba Is Developing Its Own COVID Vaccine When It Can Barely Get Daily Necessities To The Island

Things That Matter

This Is How Cuba Is Developing Its Own COVID Vaccine When It Can Barely Get Daily Necessities To The Island

Yamil Lage/AFP via Getty Images

Cuba has long been a biotech juggernaut in the Caribbean. When health crises emerge around the globe or there’s a medical disaster, Cuba is often one of the first nation’s to send medical staff and emergency workers to help. Its medical team has become part of the country’s diplomacy.

But the Coronavirus pandemic has brought economic devastation to a country already facing severe economic issues. Many on the island struggle to even find daily necessities like Tylenol or Band-Aids yet the Cuban government is just steps away from developing its own vaccine against COVID-19. How is this possible?

Cuban researches are making their own Coronavirus vaccine and seeing great results.

Currently on the island, there are five vaccine candidates in development, with two already in late-stage trials. Cuban officials say they’re developing cheap and easy-to-store serums. They are able to last at room temperature for weeks, and in long-term storage as high as 46.4 degrees, potentially making them a viable option for low-income, tropical countries that have been pushed aside by bigger, wealthier nations in the international race for coronavirus vaccines.

If they’re successful and developing and rolling out the vaccine, Cuba – a country where the average scientific researcher earns about $250 a month — could be among the first nations in the world to reach herd immunity, putting it in a position to lure vaccine tourists and to export surpluses of what officials claim could reach 100 million doses by year’s end.

If they pull this off, it would be a big win for the communist government.

Achieving success would be an against-the-odds feat of medical science and a public relations win for the isolated country of 11 million people. Cuba was just added back to the U.S. list of state sponsors of terrorism in the final days of the Trump administration.

It could also make Cuba the pharmacist for nations lumped by Washington into the so-called “Axis of Evil.” Countries like Iran and Venezuela have already inked vaccine deals with Havana. Iran has even agreed to host a Phase 3 trial of one of Cuba’s most promising candidates — Soberana 2 — as part of a technology transfer agreement that could see millions of doses manufactured in Iran.

“We have great confidence in Cuban medical science and biotechnology,” Venezuelan Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza told The Washington Post this week. “It will not only be fundamental for Venezuela, but for the Americas. It will be the true solution for our people.”

So how is Cuba managing to pull this off despite all the challenges they face?

Cuba is an authoritarian, one-party state with strict controls on everything from free speech and political activism to social media and LGBTQ rights. But the island has always invested heavily in education and healthcare, which has led to an unusually sophisticated biotechnology industry for a small developing country, with at least 31 research companies and 62 factories with over 20,000 workers.

Should Cuba’s vaccines succeed, its researchers will have overcome even more hurdles than their peers in Western labs — including shortages of equipment, spare parts and other supplies, due in part to U.S. sanctions

A successful vaccine could also become a vital new source of revenue for Cuba, which has been suffering a brutal economic crisis that has citizens waiting hours in line to buy scarce food, soap and toothpaste. The economy worsened under Trump-era sanctions that tightened the long-standing U.S. economic embargo of Cuba by curbing remittances, scaling back U.S. flights, ending cruise ship passenger traffic and further complicating Cuba’s access to the global financial system. President Biden has called for a possible return to Obama-era policies, but he has made no such moves yet.

Notice any needed corrections? Please email us at corrections@wearemitu.com

Eager For Their Vaccine, Abuelo Uses Tricycle Cart To Take His Wife To Vaccination Center

Things That Matter

Eager For Their Vaccine, Abuelo Uses Tricycle Cart To Take His Wife To Vaccination Center

@EloitRod228 / Twitter

One elderly couple in the Mexican town of Celaya is making headlines for their determination to get vaccinated. Despite the many challenges they faced, they did all they could to make sure they got their place in line at one of the country’s mass immunization sites.

A 75-year-old man took him and his wife to get vaccinated despite the challenges they faced in getting there.

Determined to have his wife vaccinated against Covid-19, a 75-year-old man transported the 83-year-old woman with a tricycle cart to a vaccination center where health authorities were immunizing seniors in the Guanajuato city.

Although the couple live near the auditorium where immunizations were taking place, state officials said, Hernández delivered his wife because she has Parkinson’s disease and cannot move on her own, according to the newspaper Milenio.

Seferino Hernández Hurtado and Galina Uribe Estrada arrived at the center around 5 a.m., where they waited for a while before receiving their shots.

Many were upset that the couple had to work so hard to get a life-saving vaccine.

The story triggered both news stories and social media posts, with some people reacting to the story as evidence of the power and endurance of true love, and others responding negatively, commenting that the couple’s story was an example of the alleged lack of organization around the Covid-19 vaccination process.

Some on social media were also upset at the amount of time that seniors had to wait to be immunized and the fact that the couple had to leave their house at all to be vaccinated.

“They are incapable of guaranteeing proper access to health to the people of Guanajuato, and even more to people like [the couple],” said one Facebook user. “How many hours did they have to be waiting in line to be the first [to be vaccinated]? And with their age and in their condition! You are romanticizing ineptitude!”

Mexico has faced several challenges during the country’s vaccine roll out.

As of Tuesday, 3.7 million of Mexico’s seniors had received one dose of a Covid-19 vaccine, according to Health Ministry data. President López Obrador predicted on Monday that all the nation’s seniors will have received at least one dose by the end of April.

Deputy Health Minister Hugo López-Gatell also announced Monday that starting in April, the government will immunize up to 600,000 of the nation’s 15 million seniors per day, based on expectations that the number of doses arriving weekly will about double starting next month.

Notice any needed corrections? Please email us at corrections@wearemitu.com