4-Year-Old May Lose Vision After Battling Flu

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photo of jade delucia

The process of recovery has been slow but steady, her team says. ”Jade continued to improve gradually and her strength and ability to respond to commands are improving consistently. However, her vision is affected, probably at the level of brain, and she needs more diagnostic tests. She will get regular follow up visits with the neurology and ophthalmology teams as an outpatient,” said Aditya Badheka, MD, medical director of the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit at the hospital.

Jade’s mother, Amanda Phillips, talked about what happened ahead of her discharge on the Fundraiser for Jade Facebook page . 

“We’re doing one final test here soon to see if her brain will react to her eyes,” Phillips wrote. “If her brain does respond then there is hope for her eyesight returning. If it doesn’t then we’ll be taking home the bravest, strongest, kindest, blind girl I will every meet.”

 



Aaron Glatt, MD, chair of medicine at Mount Sinai South Nassau and a professor of medicine at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, says the flu can cause problems in the nervous system. He did not treat Jade.

“Fortunately it isn’t very common, but it is not unheard of,” Glatt says. “Breathing problems can lead to problems in the brain,” with the lack of oxygen affecting how well the brain works.

The flu virus can also affect the eyes, experts say.

This year’s flu season is shaping up as a bad one, according to the CDC. For the week ending Dec. 28, seasonal flu activity in the U.S. is high, the CDC says, and continues to increase.

Influenza B/Victoria viruses are most common now nationally, and that is unusual for this time of year, the CDC says. Next most common are influenza A (H1N1) strains.

Five new child deaths blamed on the flu were reported during the 2019-2020 season the week of Dec. 28. The total for the season is 27 child deaths, as of Dec. 28.

Children younger than 5 years old, and in particular those younger than 2, are at high risk of getting serious flu-related problems, the CDC says. The flu vaccine is recommended each year for children 6 months and older.



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