Flu symptoms lead to rare brain infection in 2-year-old girl

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ST. LOUIS – What one family thought was the flu took a near deadly turn for a 2-year-old girl, according to KMOV.

Layla Thomas has spent 10 days in the pediatric intensive care unit at St. Louis Children’s Hospital after experiencing flu symptoms, her family said.

“She had just a runny nose, maybe a little cough but nothing out of the ordinary that we hadn’t seen before,” said Layla’s aunt Jessica Kile.

Layla’s mother Kile said on March 18 her daughter’s symptoms escalated. She was rushed to the hospital with a 107-degree fever.

“They had her hooked up to everything imaginable,” Kile said. “She’s completely unresponsive and is making small eye movements.”

Doctors diagnosed Layla with necrotic encephalitis, a rare complication of the flu now attacking her brain.

“We are still seeing a high number of flu cases in the St. Louis area.,” said Dr. Rachel Orscheln, who specializes in infectious diseases.

Orscheln said early-warning signs like sleepiness, seizures, and loss of appetite could mean something more serious.

“Even with appropriate anti-viral treatments some of these severe complications can result in permanent disability or even death,” she said.

All the family can do is wait, hopeful their bubbly 2-year-old is the exception.

“She’s really loving, just a cuddle bug and we’re just praying that we get that back,” Kile said.

The family has set up a GoFundMe to help with medical expenses.

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