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Four-year-old complains of stomach and headache - and dies after a few days
In the UK, a four-year-old girl who complained of stomach and headache died just a few days after being hospitalized. The doctors found that the child was infected with type B meningococcal disease.
Girl was only four years old
In England, a four-year-old girl died of a meningococcal infection. The child had been hospitalized only a few days earlier with relatively harmless symptoms. If little Evie was born a little later, she might still be alive because children in the UK have been vaccinated against meningococci since 2015.
It started with harmless symptoms
The tragedy began when the four-year-old Evie from Radcliffe, near Manchester, did not want to have breakfast in a friend's house one morning, according to the English newspaper Daily Mail.
"She said she had a headache," explained her mother Cortney, who then brought her daughter home. "When we got out of the car, she said she had a stomachache," said the 20-year-old.
"I brought her inside and measured her temperature. It was 40.1 ° C. “The young mother immediately alerted the emergency call and an ambulance brought the little one and her worried mother to the Manchester Children's Hospital.
On the way there, the girl had seizures again and again, just like at home. In addition, her pupils were huge.
In the hospital, the doctors quickly found that the four-year-old was suffering from a meningococcal infection. A CT scan showed that the disease had already caused brain damage, which is why the child was put into an artificial coma.
But Evie never recovered and died only a few days after being admitted to the clinic.
Transmission by droplet infection
Meningococci are bacteria that settle in the nasopharynx of humans and, according to the Robert Koch Institute (RKI), can be detected there in about ten percent of the population without any clinical symptoms.
They are most commonly transmitted by droplet infection. When talking, coughing or sneezing, the bacteria escape into the air in small droplets from the nasopharynx and can be inhaled from a short distance.
In addition, the pathogens can be transmitted as a smear infection, for example by touching the nasal secretions, even in close contact with the sick. Outside the body, the bacteria die quickly.
According to health experts, two forms of meningococcal disease can occur individually or together:
“Meningococcal diseases develop as meningitis in about two thirds of the cases. In about a third of the cases, the course is characterized by sepsis, ”the RKI writes on its website.
The onset of illness is usually very sudden and rapidly progressing.
If symptoms occur, go to the hospital quickly
An infection can lead to symptoms such as headache, stiff neck or nausea.
Other symptoms of meningitis include fever, sensitivity to light, chills, and a lowered level of consciousness, such as severe sleepiness or drowsiness.
Basically everyone can get a meningococcal infection. However, it most often affects infants in the first year of life, small children or adolescents.
"The incubation period is usually 3 to 4 days, but it can also be between 2 and 10 days," says the RKI.
If you suspect meningococcal infection, you must go to the hospital immediately! The infection is treated with antibiotics. Vaccination against the deadly disease has been available for several years.
There are different types of meningococci. Serogroups B and C are the most common in Germany.
Vaccines are available against all five serogroups occurring in Germany - A, B, C, W135 and Y. The Standing Vaccination Commission (STIKO) recommends vaccination against meningococcal C from the age of 12 months.
STIKO also recommends vaccination against serogroup B for people with impaired immune function or close contact with a person suffering from meningococcal disease. A general recommendation is still pending.
Vaccination could have saved her life
The vaccine could have saved little Evie's life. But the girl who was infected with type B meningococcal births was born before 2015, the year in which vaccination against the infection was introduced in Great Britain.
Her mother now wants to educate other parents. "I am 20 years old and have never heard of type B meningococcus," said the young woman.
"I want to make sure people know about it. I thought a rash was usually a sign of meningitis. But eight out of ten people don't get a rash. ”
The mother experiences some comfort when she thinks that her daughter's death saved another child's life.
Because a three-year-old girl received her heart in a life-saving transplant. (ad)