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Little girl fighting for her life after complications from the flu



ST. LOUIS – Layla Lynn Thomas has always been a healthy little girl. Then she became sick, like many young children.

"It was a low-grade fever that went up and down," said Jessica Kile, Layla's aunt. "It wasn't something we haven't seen before."

Kile said that Laya's mother Victoria Aubuschon took her to a pediatrician on Monday. She was sent home. Hours later, Layla's temperature jumped to 107 degrees. Her mother called an ambulance. She went to a hospital in Belleville and was then transferred to St. Louis Children's Hospital, where she's been for the last nine days.

"Her little body is just trying to fight everything right now," Kile said.

The doctors diagnosed Layla, who will be 3 next week with necrotizing encephalitis. Her brain is inflamed. It is a very rare condition and can be a complication from the flu that Layla tested positively in the hospital.

"I don't think we know exactly how it happens, whether it's a direct result of virus or an immune response to the virus that causes encephalitis after the flu. We know it can occur but rarely," says Dr. Rachel Orscheln, an infectious nurse at St. Louis Children's.

Dr. Orscheln does not treat Layla, but complications from influenza tend to affect people with immature or weak immune systems. The flu shot can be a defense.

"The flu shot is not perfect, but it reduces the risk of getting complications, being hospitalized or dying of the flu," says Dr. Orscheln.
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9659002] Layla got her flu shot so the family struggled to understand how she got so sick so quickly.

"We want to make parents aware that this is a possible complication," Kile said.

Layla's family said their little girl is tough despite the odds.

"When they said she has a 50-50 chance, we all broke down," Kile said. "I can't even explain how hard it has been. We just want our Layla back."

The family has created this GoFundMe page to help with expenses.

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