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Tuesday, November 20, 2007

She’s proud of her "battle wounds:" Isabel Maude and Chickenpox

Twelve-year-old Isabel Maude is proud of the scars that run from her stomach to her pelvis. She calls them her "battle wounds" and likes to tell her friends and teachers about the day she nearly died.

But for parents Jason and Charlotte, their daughter's scars serve as a haunting reminder of the day in which an apparently harmless childhood illness nearly took their little girl's life. Isabel's scars result not from an accident, but from chickenpox - which she contracted at age three.

Within days, the virus had taken hold of her body, leading to toxic shock syndrome - a rare type of blood poisoning caused by bacteria - and necrotising fasciitis, a bacterial infection that rapidly eats away at the flesh. Isabel suffered multiple organ failure and cardiac arrest, and spent three weeks in intensive care. She has since undergone seven plastic surgery operations on her abdomen and will need more.

Isabel's case is extreme, but she is not alone. Every year in the United Kingdom, chickenpox, a highly contagious virus, affects 300,000 children. There are no official figures on mortality in children, but it is thought the virus kills up to eight a year, leaving dozens of others with complications like Isabel's. These figures led scientists to suggest earlier this month that a chickenpox vaccine should be added to the MMR jab. They claimed the vaccine, which is already offered in America, Canada and Australia, is the "only realistic way of preventing deaths and complications from the virus".

Advice to parents: Get your kids vaccinated for chickenpox.

Browse for related stories in the index at the very bottom of this page, or read our earlier post on Isabel. Natasha Courtenay-Smith’s source article appears in today’s Daily Mail [UK].

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Herpes simplex is a virus that tags along with chicken pox, Cold soars around the mouth, nose, and on the face is a small complication. This virus comes with it and stays hidden until something triggers it, which still is un known. If you get chicken pox from a person who has the herpes virus then you have it as well. A small percentage of people, like my mother, can come down with Herpes Simplex Encephalitis. It destroys the brain and is hard to detect.