"I saw a shadow like effect on my daughter's cheek. I saw it on her knees. It was spreading right in front of my eyes at an alarming rate."
A Singapore mum recounted her horror on a Facebook group recently, when her little baby came down with bacterial meningitis. We reproduce her post here with her permission, to create awareness of this deadly disease.
"Whoever has not done the meningitis jab for your babies or kids, please do them ASAP. Let me tell u my horrific story," she warns.
Baby comes down with bacterial meningitis in Singapore
This mummy writes, "On 29 June 2018, my daughter had a high fever, I panicked and called the ambulance. My daughter was warded at the observation ward."
After a few hours, the doctor recommended that the mum take the baby back home, as the fever had gone down. However, her instincts told this mummy that all was not right.
"I told the doctor let her be warded for one day.
"At 2 am my daughter had no fever, but she was not her usual self. She was very cranky."
And then, to her horror, she saw something strange.
"I saw a shadow like effect on my daughter's cheek. I saw it on her knees. It was spreading right in front of my eyes at an alarming rate.
"To my horror, the blue black (bruise mark) was all over her body."
"Your daughter has meningitis"
"Doctors were extremely shocked. They discussed and immediately arranged for a lumbar puncture to be done on my 17-month-old daughter."
Lumbar puncture (LP), also known as a spinal tap, is a medical procedure which can help diagnose diseases of the central nervous system, including the brain and spine. Doctors will insert a needle into the spinal canal, most commonly to collect cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) for diagnostic testing.
"I googled and one word was sending chills down my spine. MENINGITIS. I prayed hard it should not be that word."
"Doctors were rushing everywhere and I was clueless. My heart was beating so fast. Doctors said we need to isolate her. The doctor said, 'I'm sorry to say we suspect your daughter has MENINGITIS.
"She needs immediate attention. She will be shifted to ICU. We need to monitor her for 72 hrs, either she will survive or pass away...'
"My whole world came crashing down."
With God's grace, the little girl was saved, and discharged from hospital on 11 July 2018. Her mummy tells theAsianparent, "She is recovering slowly. Sometimes she gets cranky because of the burn-like wounds. We are dressing up the wounds every day...
"My heart aches to see her suffer."
She has this advice for all other parents, "Rush your child to the A&E if she has:
- purple spots (bruise like)
- stiff neck
- is afraid of light"
Thank you, mummy, for sharing your story with us. We hope your little one gets well real soon!
Meningitis: What You Need to know
Meningitis is an inflammation of the membranes (meninges) surrounding your brain and spinal cord. Viral, bacterial or fungal infections are the cause.
Bacterial meningitis is very serious and can be deadly. Death can occur in as little as a few hours. The disease requires prompt antibiotic treatment. Delayed treatment increases the risk of permanent brain damage or death.
Meningitis symptoms include:
- Sudden onset of fever
- Stiff neck
- Photophobia (increased sensitivity to light)
- Altered mental status (confusion)
Newborns and infants may show these signs:
- High fever
- Constant crying
- Excessive sleepiness or irritability
- Inactivity or sluggishness
- Poor feeding
- A bulge in the soft spot on top of a baby's head (fontanel)
- Stiffness in a baby's body and neck
- Abnormal reflexes
Meningococcal bacteria reproduce in the bloodstream and release poisons (septicemia). As the infection progresses, blood vessels can become damaged.
This can cause a faint skin rash that looks like tiny pinpricks. The spots may be pink, red, or purple.
As the infection spreads, the rash becomes more obvious. More bleeding under the skin may cause the spots to turn dark red or deep purple. The rash may resemble large bruises.
Not everyone with meningitis develops a rash though.
Travellers going to meningococcal endemic areas like Africa, South America, Middle and Far East should get a meningococcal vaccination. Take the vaccine at least one week before departure.
Do note that, the vaccines that protect against these bacteria are not 100% effective. They do not protect against all the strains of each bacteria.