She was rushed to hospital, where a viral infection was diagnosed. This later changed to meningococcal septicaemia.
Fortunately Evie-Mae pulled through with no serious lasting damage, but it was a scary time for the family. Claire tells their story.
“On the 4th of October 2010 my whole life changed in a way I hoped I would never have to go through - my 14-month-old daughter, Evie-Mae, caught meningococcal septicaemia. We had been in town shopping that day and Evie-Mae had been fine. We got home late afternoon and, having bought Evie-Mae a play tent with balls to play in, we set that up and she had a play.
“She had her tea and then we put her down in her own room. She was crying, so I gave her some Calpol as I thought she was teething. There were no other obvious signs of illness. She went off to sleep and on the baby monitor I could hear her fidgeting and moaning, so I went in to check. She was shivering and was hard to wake up and seemed to have what looked like a fit.
“I shouted her dad in and we called an ambulance. The ambulance came and gave her some Nurofen. They said it looks like she's fitted, as her temperature had gone up, so we went to hospital. We were told it was viral and they would just keep us in overnight as she had fitted to keep an eye on her.
Small purple bruise
“Also, by the time we got to hospital, she had developed a small purple bruise on her lip. The nurse told me it looks like she's bitten her lip during the fit. Evie then had a little play and seemed okay. So, not once did I think it was meningitis!
“This was around 11.30pm, so my mum and sister went home and we got put on a ward. Through the night I couldn't sleep. Evie’s temperature was around the 40s and I kept telling the nurse she's not cooling down. They didn't seem bothered.
“Then she started vomiting, so they moved us to our own room in case she had a bug. When it started getting light outside I was standing next to Evie while she was just lying in the cot and I noticed a purple looking spot appear. I asked her dad to go and get the nurse.
“She came in and pressed the emergency button and within seconds nurses and doctors came in from everywhere. They put a drip in and gave her antibiotics and explained that they would have to sedate her.
Scariest time of my life
“This was the scariest time of my life. I phoned my mum to come up and they told me a team from Alder Hey Children's Hospital would be coming by ambulance to get Evie to take her there to go in intensive care. When they arrived I asked if I could go with Evie and they said ‘no’, in case anything happened on the way.
“So, I followed in Evie’s dad’s car. When I got there members of my family were already there and it took them a while to get Evie in so I could see her. When I finally got in to see her, my heart broke in a million pieces.
“They explained to me what was happening and said the next 24 hours were critical, as her organs were failing.
No lasting damage
“Evie pulled through and spent about seven days in intensive care. On about day six they started to wake her up, but Evie started to get withdrawal symptoms from the medication. We got moved to a ward for Evie to start building up her strength and see what damage had been done by the meningitis. Evie spent about seven more days here before we were allowed to go home, still weak but with no damage.
“We couldn't believe our baby girl came out of this deadly disease with no lasting damage. Evie still has to go for hearing tests now as they think it's affected her hearing slightly, but she is a normal healthy six-year-old, who is doing excellently in school.
“This has changed my life completely and now I think I should be going to counselling, as I panic over her now getting a cold. One of the scariest things anyone has to go through!”