It was the normal day when Jia showed the first symptom of this infection. She was suffering from severe headache and muscle pain. Initially, I felt that it could be due to the fact that she was playing along with her friends till quite late the previous night and that must’ve exerted her physically.
I asked her to take some rest and get some sleep so that she could feel better. She went to her bed and slept. After some time, I went to check in on her. And when I touched her forehead and wrist, I found that she was burning up with fever, though her hands and feet were cold.
I tried to wake her up so that I can give her something to eat and then give her paracetamol, but she was feeling drowsy. It was with great difficulty that I managed to wake her up. Somehow, I managed to make her eat two biscuits, but she vomited. I got nervous because somewhere I was sure that the signs and symptoms which her body was showing were not of a normal fever. I called up my husband asking him to come home soon so that we could take Jia to see a doctor because I felt that a doctor’s intervention was needed here.
As soon as my husband entered the home, we rushed to our pediatrician. The pediatrician checked Jia thoroughly and carefully. He conducted some tests, which included a few blood tests and one cerebrospinal fluid test. Both my husband and I were nervous and worried because we weren’t expecting this kind of detailed testing process. After conducting those lab tests and checking their reports, the doctor concluded that Jia was suffering from meningococcal meningitis – a serious bacterial infection that infects the protective membrane surrounding the brain and spinal cord.
Jia was immediately put on a variety of antibiotics and kept in intensive care. It was really distressing for us to see Jia in ICU. Meanwhile, we asked our doctor about the reason behind this infection. He stated that this infection is contagious and can be transmitted from person to person through contaminated fluids. He also said that it can also be transmitted by coming in contact with an infected person, through sneezing or coughing.
On being asked about the preventive measure which could have been adopted by us to prevent Jia from getting infected, he mentioned that there is a vaccination available for it called Meningococcal Conjugate Vaccine (MCV). It helps to protect against the types of bacteria which cause this infection.
Jia spent 10 days in the hospital. We were told by our doctor that Jia was lucky to get into the hospital in time, otherwise, it could have been fatal. Even after coming back from the hospital, Jia took another month to recover completely. However, now she is completely well and fine.
After this incident, I feel that every parent should be more aware of the vaccinations available for the kids apart from the basic ones. After all, awareness is more important than being ignorant.
Author: Samidha Mathur