4-year-old from Waterloo loses sight, nearly dies from flu

Local News

Jade caught the flu days before Christmas. Doctors say she might be permanently blind.

WATERLOO (CNN) — A four-year-old may be permanently blind from catching the flu.

Jade DeLucia spent almost two weeks at the University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital in Iowa City.

“I didn’t think I was going to see her again. At that point, I really didn’t,” said Jade’s mom, Amanda Phillips.

Phillips says that she took Jade and her sister to get the flu shot last March. She didn’t realize that they needed to get vaccinated again for the 2019-2020 flu season.

Jade had Influenza B, and this strand is spreading rapidly across the country. That’s highly unusual for this time of year.

Experts say the most vulnerable to the infection are kids.

On Christmas Day, Jade’s parents say they learned she developed encephalopathy, a complication from the flu which affects the brain and causes blindness.

Doctors say the damage is likely permanent.

Jade was able to go home on Jan. 9. She has a long road to recovery.

The flu virus changes every year, so the vaccine also changes. You can get the vaccine at the end of the summer. The CDC recommends getting yours by the end of October to protect against the flu in the upcoming winter.

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