Aunt of newborn who caught rare bacterial disease urges all children to get vaccinated

In a heartbreaking warning to parents to vaccinate their children, one aunt posted a photo of her niece to Facebook, showing her strapped to IVs after contracting Hib.

One aunt’s plea to get parents to vaccinate their children has gone viral.

Alecia Rankin of Knoxville, Tenn., recently posted a photo of her then seven-week-old niece on Facebook hooked up to an IV.

“Reason #1736493983283763 to vaccinate your kids? My seven week old niece has HIB flu. So rare that her doctor hasn’t seen it in her career because this bacteria caused by HIB flu was all but eradicated by vaccines,” she wrote on the social media site.

“The first being the one babies get at two months, which she hasn’t gotten yet. So before you decide not to vaccinate your children because ‘it’s your choice’ and ‘those who are vaccinated won’t be affected’ remember that babies can get sick before they have the chance to get their vaccine.”

READ MORE: Children in Italy have to be vaccinated or they can’t go to school: government

What is Hib?

Haemophilus influenzae (Hi) disease is a disease caused by a bacterial infection, Health Canada notes, and has nothing to do with the influenza virus (despite its name). There are many types of Hi bacteria, including Type b or Hib.

“Babies and children under five are most at risk for developing invasive disease caused by some types of Haemophilus influenzae. They are also most likely to suffer from complications of the disease,” the site notes. “Getting your children vaccinated is necessary to reduce their risk of getting .”

The disease can have symptoms that range from mild to severe and can range from ear infections to sinus infections to difficulty breathing.

READ MORE: Update kids’ vaccines before school starts: Middlesex-London Health Unit

“In rarer cases, the bacteria can invade other parts of the body. If they get into the blood they can infect almost any body part, including the brain, heart, bones and skin. This type of infection leads to an invasive disease and is very serious,” Health Canada notes.

According to Rankin’s post, her niece, Aryn, was discharged from the hospital and is currently doing well.

“Our family appreciates the well wishes, thoughts and prayers,” she wrote.

Getting children vaccinated

Dr. Janice Heard, a pediatrician from Calgary and a member of the Canadian Paediatric Society’s Public Education Advisory Committee, says there are huge numbers of vaccine myths that have been circulating the web for years.

“Some of them started because when we first vaccinated children, our vaccines weren’t as fine as they are today,” she tells Global News. “Some kids would feel sick or have sore arms. thought vaccines were making their kid sick, not preventing illnesses in the future.”

According to the Canadian Paediatric Society (CPS), vaccinations can protect your child against many dangerous diseases like diphtheria, tetanus, whooping cough, polio, Hib, rotavirus, hepatitis B, measles, mumps, rubella, chickenpox, pneumococcal and meningococcal diseases, and human papillomavirus virus.

CPS currently recommends nine vaccinations for children, as well as the flu vaccine for children older than six months.

READ MORE: Measles cases could spike if vaccinations drop even a little: study

“Vaccinations today are incredibly safe,” she continued. “Every batch of vaccine is not just the original batch they made five years ago. Every batch is tested to make sure it is not contaminated.”

She adds there are zero side effects, except maybe for a temporary sore arm.

And for parents who don’t take vaccinations seriously, they also need to understand their kids, as well other vulnerable groups like the elderly or newborns around them, are also at risk of getting ill, or worse.

“People can die from these diseases … it affects other people around them.”

arti.patel@globalnews.ca

© 2017 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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