Rates of meningococcal disease are at an historic low in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. A total of 375 cases were reported in 2015.

Anyone is susceptible to the disease, but children under 1 year of age have the greatest risk, followed by those ages 16 to 23. According to the CDC, symptoms of meningococcal meningitis include fever, headache, and stiff neck; sepsis and rash are present in cases of meningococcemia.

But for some parents, such as Paul and Vikki Gott, the onset of their child’s symptoms weren’t so clear.

Just Giving

As SWNS reports, Paul and Vikki’s 10-month-old, Kia, faces limb amputation after recently being diagnosed with meningococcal septicemia, a meningococcal infection in which the bacteria enters the bloodstream.

In addition to losing her limbs, the British parents were told Kia could completely lose her eye sight and her hearing. Ninety percent of her brain will also suffer damage in what doctors have called “the worst case” of Meningitis C septicaemia they have seen in 25 years.

Four weeks ago, the family was reportedly taking photos at an older sibling’s school in West Yorkshire, England, shortly before Kia fell ill.

Vikki took Kia to the doctors later that week because the baby “was not herself.” According to the Telegraph and Argus, Kia had a temperature of 101.3 degrees, was “jerking” in her sleep, lethargic when awake, and had a couple of spots on her chest. Hospital consultants reportedly told the family a doctor would not have been able to detect meningitis at that time.

Moreover, Kia displayed other mild symptoms. The same day Kia went to the doctors, Paul noticed his daughter wasn’t excited to see him when he came home from work. Paul found the passive greeting unusual. Later that night, however, the baby’s symptoms were clear. Paul’s aunt, Donna Gott, told the publication:

“They stayed up with her until midnight, then went to bed. At 2:00 a.m. the next morning Paul woke with a start, just instinct. He went to check on her, put on the light and saw her face, neck and chest was covered in the rash.

He told me ‘I screamed, I knew what it was.'”

By the time paramedics arrived, Kia’s veins had collapsed, and first responders were forced to administer emergency drugs by “drilling” into her shin. The 10-month-old had also suffered a “mini” cardiac arrest. Kia was rushed to the hospital, and her parents were informed it was likely she wouldn’t survive. The baby was transferred to specialist care where her parents then learned she would need all four limbs amputated.

Just Giving

Donna said:

“Paul and Vikki are traumatized. They know she is in a bad way, but they can’t grasp she can’t hear or see them. They believe she is responding to them and their voices and when Elsie sings her nursery rhymes. She is yawning, moving her head and her arm. The hospital has said it’s the worst case of Meningitis C they have seen there in 25 years.

Because she is on so many drugs at the moment, it’s hard to do the tests they need to find out for sure but they will keep monitoring her. An eye specialist has given some hope her eyes might still be healthy.”

Kia has since been removed from her ventilator and can breathe on her own. However, she remains sedated. A Just Giving account has been set up in order to help her family with expenses. Donna posted:

Thank you so much to each and everyone of you who has kindly donated, family are overwhelmed with the support from people far and wide, we thankyou from the bottom of our hearts ? it means so much and will help Kia and her family through this difficult time x

According to the Telegraph and Argus, last year the U.K.’s National Health Service stopped administering the Meningitis C vaccine to 12-week-old babies because of “almost no” reported cases of the disease in children that young. The vaccine is now offered for 1-year-olds in combination with the Hib vaccine, which protects against Hib disease, the leading cause of meningitis.

In the U.S., the CDC recommends all 11- and 12-year-olds receive a meningococcal conjugate vaccine with a booster shot at age 16. Teens and young adults between the ages of 16 to 23 may receive the serogroup B meningococcal vaccine. In some cases, children between the ages of 2 months and 10 years may receive this vaccine.

The CDC also recommends the first dose of Hib vaccine be administered to babies at 2 months old, followed by a second dose at 4 months, a third dose at 6 months, and then a final booster shot at 12-15 months. Children over the age of 5 and adults typically do not need the vaccine.

Know the signs of meningitis: 

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