SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - A mystery illness left a little girl in the hospital for a month. Now, the family has answers, but no cure. Doctors pinpointed it to a mosquito borne virus.
An 8-year-old girl in Savannah is fighting to regain normalcy after a virus left her hospitalized for a month.
Eastern Equine Encephalitis is a disease spread by mosquito bites.
“It’s very rare," said Pediatric Director Stephen Thacker. "Only about 7 reported cased on average in the US.”
Naomi Gregory was admitted to the Children’s Ward at Memorial on Nov. 4. Her mother did not know what was wrong with her little girl until Monday.
“It’s been very hard,” says Iesha Taylor, Naomi’s mother. “The good part is that I know. But it’s been hard.”
Doctors diagnosed Naomi with Triple E. But answers did not mean cures.
“Despite our best efforts to understand this virus there is no vaccine and there is no treatment,” said Thacker.
The Disease impacts humans in two ways. Either as a full body flu-like illness, or as Encephalitis- swelling of the brain.
“They did pronounce her as brain damaged but she’s now making sudden movements,” said Taylor.
Which is exactly what Naomi experienced. Her mother says she’s slowly regaining the ability to interact.
“No, still no talking. no conversations. She’s able to respond to commands but not as much. But she’s getting there,” she said.
Naomi has gotten through the worst of the disease, despite not knowing where she picked it up. In fact, she’s now immune to it. But the damage done to her brain could be permanent. Her mother wants to warn people.
“Now that I know I can let other people know just to be aware because it’s obviously still out there. So just to be aware, let every one know about it. Keep the kids safe,” she said.
Doctors say now that they have a diagnoses, they know how to help Naomi get back on her feet.
“She continues to surprise us each day with improvement with how she is moving and engaging with her family,” said Thacker.