Four-Year-Old Girl Goes Blind After Contracting The Flu

A young girl from Iowa may be blind for the rest of her life after catching the flu. Four-year-old Jade DeLucia developed a high fever on Christmas Eve, and her mother rushed her to the hospital.

"I looked down at her, and her eyes were in the back of her head," Jade's mom Amanda Phillips told NBC News.

Jade spent more than two weeks in the hospital with a nasty strain of the flu. While there, she developed encephalopathy, which caused her brain to swell. As a result, Jade lost her vision in both eyes.

She was released from the hospital on January 9, but doctors are unsure if Jade's vision will return. They cautioned it might take up to six months to determine if the blindness will be permanent.

"She is lucky to be alive," one of her physicians, Dr. Theresa Czech, told CNN. "She's a little fighter. And I think she's super lucky."

Amanda said that Jade received the flu vaccine last March, but had not been vaccinated this year. Her mother believed the shot was good for a full year, but doctors say that you must get vaccinated before the start of the flu season because the strain of the virus changes. Amanda wants to spread the word about the importance of making sure your kids' vaccines are up-to-date.

"If I can stop one child from getting sick, that's what I want to do," she said. "It's terrible to see your child suffer like this."