Flu Kills Boy, 11, Blinds Girl, 4

Tragic stories out of New York and Iowa
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 14, 2020 6:33 PM CST
Flu Kills One Child, Blinds Another
In this Jan. 12, 2018, file photo, a medical assistant at a community health center gives a patient a flu shot in Seattle.   (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren, File)

Two heartbreaking stories about children who contracted the flu virus are making headlines:

  • In Hamburg, New York, an 11-year-old boy died Saturday from complications of the flu. Luca Calanni first got sick early last week, and went to the doctor three days in a row before being taken to the hospital for fluids Wednesday, WKBW reports. He went into septic shock, but was initially doing better before the virus attacked his heart, causing him to go into cardiac arrest. "He was vaccinated, and we did everything possible to prevent and to help him," says his mom. "I want him to be remembered for the wonderful boy he was, and not just another flu-related death." She says her son, who had just celebrated his birthday in December, "was an amazing brother to his three sisters."

  • In Iowa, a 4-year-old girl was left blind after her battle with the flu, which also nearly killed her. From Dec. 19 to Dec. 23 Jade DeLucia was a bit under the weather, but her mom wasn't too concerned, she tells CNN. "She was running around, having fun, eating normally, asking for snacks. It was just—it's a little bug, she'll get over it." But without warning, when her father went to wake her up on Christmas Eve morning, he found her unresponsive in bed with a high fever. Her parents rushed her to the hospital, where she started having a seizure; doctors ultimately explained the flu had affected her brain in a complication known as acute necrotizing encephalopathy. In what her family describes as a miracle, Jade recovered enough to go home Jan. 9, but she currently can't see due to a portion of her brain that was affected, and doctors aren't sure whether that will be permanent. She was vaccinated in March 2019, and her mom says she didn't realize she would need to be vaccinated again for the 2019-20 flu season. Her parents are now pushing awareness of the flu vaccine. "If I can stop one child from getting sick, that's what I want to do."
(The flu has killed a record number of children this season.)

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