Flu blinds Iowa girl, 4, mom says

The flu has blinded a 4-year-old girl in Iowa, according to her mother, who is now urging others to ensure their loved ones are vaccinated against the virus.

Jade DeLucia, of Waterloo, began showing signs of illness in the days before Christmas, but her mother, Amanda Phillips, says her daughter’s low-grade fever was kept in check with medication.

However, on the morning of Christmas Eve, Jade’s condition took a drastic turn for the worse — she was found unresponsive. Jade, who later suffered a seizure, was flown to the University of Iowa Children’s Hospital, according to a GoFundMe page created in the girl’s name.

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“I looked down at her and her eyes were in the back of her head,” Phillips recalled to NBC News.

The young girl was then diagnosed with flu, which led her to develop encephalopathy, a flu-related complication that caused her brain to swell. Her vision was ultimately affected.

After weeks in the hospital, Jade was released on Jan. 9, according to one of her mother’s Facebook posts.

“We are so blessed that out of everything that could have happened she’s still here with us. We didn’t lose our baby girl,” she wrote in part.

In a Jan. 8 Facebook post, one day before Jade was released, Phillips wrote that her daughter’s eyes are “completely healthy” but “she still can’t see.”

“Which means two things in the future. 1. Her brain could reconnect and she could see again it might just take time. 2. Our baby is blind. We were preparing for the second so it didn’t come as too much of a shock,” she wrote.

Speaking to NBC News, Phillips said it will take roughly six months to know if her daughter’s vision is permanently gone.

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Prior to falling ill, Jade had not received the flu vaccine for the 2019-2020 season. Phillips said Jade was vaccinated against the virus in March but claims she didn’t realize her daughter needed to receive an updated shot for the new season.

Amanda Phillips did not immediately return Fox News’s request for additional comment on Monday.