At just seven months old, baby Lilliana came down with a very deadly infection when traveling with her family to Thailand. Halfway through their trip, Lilliana began exhibiting signs that something was wrong when she developed a slight fever. Concerned, her parents took her to the nearest hospital to be checked. Upon being examined, Lilliana was discharged with some paracetamol to reduce her fever. Thinking it was only a simple virus, her parents were relieved but sadly it was just the beginning of the infant's downfall.
A few hours after being discharged from the hospital, baby Lilliana "lost consciousness and turned blue," reports Metro. Her parents Elisha Robinson, 24, and Jai, 25, quickly got Lilliana back to the hospital only to find out she had bacterial meningitis and sepsis (meningococcal disease). "Her lips and fingernails started going blue, and she just went limp and lost consciousness. We rushed her back to the hospital and that was the beginning of our nightmare," her mother tells reporters. "The doctors told us she had meningococcal and that she was going to die."
With her life on the line, doctors had to act quickly. Shortly after arriving at the hospital, Lilliana's legs began to turn purple before opening up into lacerations and turning gangrenous. When doctors saw that Lilliana's legs were dying, she was airlifted to Bangkok to have surgeons attempt to remove the dead tissue before amputation was necessary. The doctors were successful at saving the infant's legs but they weren't quite out of the woods yet.
After a lengthy recovery and six months of skin graft surgeries, steroid injections, and physiotherapy, Metro reports that Lilliana got to celebrate her first birthday, "a milestone Elisha said she feared she might never get to see." With her baby on the mend, Elisha wants to warn other parents of the signs and risks of meningococcal disease. With the vaccine typically given at around two and 12 months of age (varying depending on location), many babies don't yet have the full immunity from the vaccine and are at great risk of developing the infection especially when traveling.
Medical News Today says that there are signs you can watch out for if you suspect that your baby may have meningitis. These signs include a bulging fontanel, fever and chills, cold hands and feet but a warm abdomen, a stiff neck, irritability and crying, rapid breathing, vomiting, loss of appetite, extreme fatigue, and/or a red or dark rash. If your baby is exhibiting these symptoms, he/she needs to be seen by a medical professional right away. To learn more about meningitis in infants, click here.