Every Parent Needs to See What the 'Mutant' Flu Did to This Baby

mutant flu
Tegan-Lee Gilbert/GoFundMe.com
At just 3 months old, baby Brock Gilbert started showing flu symptoms, and despite a "mutant flu epidemic" hitting Australia, his mom was the only one who took it seriously. With his fever soaring to 104 degrees, mom Tegan-Lee Gilbert took Brock to the doctor, but he was sent home because he looked like a happy baby. Three days later, the mom from New South Wales brought him back to the doctor because he couldn't even lift his head -- and they finally sent him to the emergency room. However, Brock, being the happy baby that he is, smiled at the ER doctor and ended up being discharged again.

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Tegan-Lee brought him back, as she insisted that something wasn't right with her child, and again he was sent to the emergency room. They almost sent him home for a third time because he sipped his bottle -- and no sick baby would be able to do that, right? -- but a doctor thankfully decided to keep him for observation. That evening, Brock's 104 temperature wouldn't break, he started vomiting, and eventually he wasn't even able to open his eyes. 

baby with mutant flu
Tegan-Lee Gilbert/GoFundMe.com

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After doctors performed a lumbar puncture and nose swab, Brock started seizing, and his helpless parents had to wait until the results came back before anyone knew that Brock was up against Influenza A and bacterial meningitis. Although he was immediately started on antibiotics, Brock continued to have seizures.

After a particularly long seizure lasted for more than 10 minutes, doctors decided that he needed to be airlifted to a children's hospital in Sydney, where a team of specialists eventually found that in addition to having swelling and puss on his brain as well as a blood clot, he'd had a stroke at some point -- and was possibly in need of brain surgery.

mutant flu baby
Tegan-Lee Gilbert/GoFundMe.com

To make matters worse, according to a GoFundMe account set up for medical costs, Brock contracted rhinovirus and salmonella since being in the hospital. He's continued having strokes and seizures, with one lasting 40 minutes, and the puss on his brain getting worse.  

Brock was hospitalized for at least six more weeks in order to have daily injections to dissolve his blood clot, and doctors won't know if his illnesses caused any long-term damage for months to years to come. Brock is just one of about 94,000 flu cases this year in Australia as of August, and after their unusually bad season, experts are warning parents in the US to prepare themselves. 

australia mutant flu
Tegan-Lee Gilbert/GoFundMe.com

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"Usually the influenza season in the southern hemisphere serves as a sort of a predictor of what's going to happen in the northern hemisphere," Dr. Hana El Sahly, associate professor of molecular virology and microbiology at Baylor College of Medicine, told Today. "The season in the southern hemisphere has been dominated by the H3N2 virus. This strain of influenza tends to be more severe." 

With more than double the number of flu cases reported in Australia this year compared to 2016, it's important for parents to not only recognize flu symptoms but to also trust their gut, like Brock's mom did, as the flu season approaches in the United States.


Tegan-Lee Gilbert/GoFundMe.com

According to researchers, most of the flu cases reported were from the H3N2 strain, which can be particularly severe for kids 5–9 years old and adults over 80. The current flu shot does offer protection against this strain and doctors advise getting the vaccine as early as possible to build immunity before the season starts, typically by Halloween.

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