Four-year-old Iowa girl gets brain damage from influenza virus


IOWA CITY, Iowa (CNN/KWWL) — Since the beginning of the flu season, experts have warned that the virus can be dangerous. An Iowa family knows this all too well as their four-year-old daughter fights for her life after getting the flu.

Christmas is still on hold at the Frey household. They’re waiting on four-year-old Jade DeLucia to pull through after becoming seriously ill.

“They didn’t think anything of it,” said her grandmother, Courtney Frey. “I think the highest her fever had gone at home was 100.”

After being rushed to a local hospital, she began seizing.

“They tested her for a lot of different things to ensure it wasn’t several infections or bacteria,” said Courtney Frey. “But the only thing that came back was influenza B that had gotten into her brain.”

It was something her family never expected from the flu, leaving their youngest daughter fighting for her life.

“She just couldn’t breathe,” said Frey. “The flu had built up in her lungs. Her brain had swelled.”

For nearly two weeks jade’s been hooked up to machines, with MRI results showing extensive brain damage.

“Thankfully two days ago jade woke up,” said Frey. “And she opened her eyes and she started to move her little hands. And we just started to see a little more of her come back to us.”

Now the family is praying for the best, thankful for the community rallying in support. But her parents have a message.

“Take them to the doctor. If you feel like well… No, after 24-48 hours, take them. Get them tested. Demand for an influenza test. Because she said I would have much rather paid for the test than this.”

Family and friends started a GoFundMe to help pay for jade’s medical bills and treatment. Her grandmother says the money allows Jade’s parents to stay by her side while they miss work.

So far, friends have raised more than $6,000.

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