One of the great challenges of young parenthood is knowing when to take a cough or fever seriously, versus when you can just administer some baby aspirin and let the illness run its course. But one baby’s horrifying run of an unusual form of meningitis – a disease characterized by acute inflammation of the brain’s protective membranes, as well as those of the spinal cord – has one UK couple begging other young parents to pay particular attention to the disease’s warning signs.
Vikki and Paul Gott of Yorkshire at first thought their little 10-month-old girl Kia was just having a typical baby illness with fever and vomiting. But they quickly learned their daughter was suffering from something far more ominous, and the consequences have been devastating so far, with more likely yet to come.
Doctors have already been forced to remove one of Kia’s arms, but loss of both her hearing and sight, her remaining limbs, and even most of her brain function, may result from her extreme case of meningitis C septicemia, a case that her physicians have said is the worst they’ve seen in the past 25 years.
Tragically, this case might have been prevented, but Britain’s National Health Service (NHS) stopped offering the vaccine to newborns under three months old just over a year ago. Determining in mid-2016 that the lack of cases of what the NHS calls “MenC” meant the baby version of the vaccine was pointless, the program was discontinued. A similar immunization series for children age one and up continues.
What to Watch for If You Suspect Someone You Know May Have Meningitis or Septicemia
Both of these illnesses are very tricky to diagnose, and their symptoms are the same as those of numerous other diseases, ranging from benign to dangerous. But given how quickly a patient can die or suffer serious effects, as baby Kia has, it’s critical to err on the side of caution and get anyone with these symptoms checked out by medical professionals immediately.
• Extreme headaches
• Muscle and joint pain
• Fever, including cold extremities
• Becoming extremely pale or developing a rash
• Trouble breathing
• Confusion, delirium, and aversion to strong lights
• Inability to stay awake
14-year-old who lost arms and legs to meningitis is living life to the fullest