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Emilia S's story

26th April 2019

Baby Emilia had what her parents thought was a viral rash, which doctors initially diagnosed as nappy rash. But as her symptoms grew worse and she became more unsettled her concerned parents took her to hospital, where viral meningitis was diagnosed

Emilia S's story

Emilia has recovered well and is now a happy, loud and healthy 11-month-old, as dad Adam, from Preston in Lancashire, recounts here for World Meningitis Day, Life after Meningitis.

“On the Wednesday morning Emilia had not been herself. What started with a rash around the left trunk region had spread to her whole body within an hour. We decided to keep an eye on it as it appeared viral and she was not showing any other symptoms."

“By the Friday morning she had developed some blistering to her ankles and nappy area with pyrexia. We made an appointment with the doctor, who saw her the same day, but only to be told she had nappy rash and not to worry."

“We decided to be more vigilant as my wife and I are both qualified nurses working in very acute areas."

Unsettled and grunting

“By Friday night she was unsettled and had started grunting and arching her back as though she was in pain, but she did eventually settle."

“Throughout Saturday her appetite decreased and she still had a temperature. By Saturday night she was very unsettled and her fontanelle had started to bulge, but seemed to be more pronounced when laying flat."

“By the early hours of Sunday morning her fontanelle was obviously tense and bulging and it was clear there was something serious going on. We made arrangements with our parents to take care of our older daughter and took Emilia straight to the Emergency Department, where she was sent to the paediatric ward."

Suspicion of meningitis

“Emilia was assessed by the consultant, who ordered bloods and for treatment to be commenced immediately with the suspicion of meningitis. At this stage it was unknown whether it might be viral or bacterial meningitis, or it could be encephalitis. Emilia was given IV antibiotics and antivirals and admitted into an isolation room."

“The next day Emilia had an ultrasound of her brain and that evening was taken away from us to undergo a lumbar puncture. We were told she would need to remain in hospital until her cultures came back, 48 hours after the tests."

“Emilia continued with her antibiotics but had been stopped on the antivirals. In the next 48 hours she was seen by a consultant, who told us that they would be chasing the cultures so we could have a better idea of what was wrong with her, but they were sure it wasn't meningitis and was just one of those things."

Caught it early

“On the evening of 7 November, a registrar came to review Emilia and informed us that she did have viral meningitis, caused by enterovirus. She had only displayed one symptom of this - the viral rash - and that we had caught it early."

“We were warned that Emilia may have some developmental issues and hearing loss."

“Emilia has since been seen in a paediatric clinic by the consultant who first felt she had possible meningitis and she was happy with her progress, development and recovery."

Happy, loud and healthy

“Emilia has no hearing problems to date and is a happy, loud and healthy 11-month-old girl. She has recently started standing unaided and is very nearly walking unaided."

“In hindsight, Emilia displayed a lot of symptoms prior to us taking her to the emergency department that were associated with meningitis that we as parents and nurses were not aware of. However, we feel if we did not have insight and knowledge of such medical conditions and did not act on instinct, Emilia’s meningitis journey could have played out completely differently.”