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“It was touch and go”, 4-year-old Waterloo girl with Influenza B fighting for her life

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WATERLOO, Iowa (KWWL) -- At least 11 Iowans have died this season from the flu, according to the CDC.

The flu is considered widespread throughout the state, according to the Iowa Department of Public Health.

One of the affected is 4-year-old Jade Delucia of Waterloo who has been fighting for her life after contracting influenza B.

Jade Delucia

Jade first told her parents she wasn't feeling well on Christmas Eve. Amanda Phillips and Seth Delucia did what most parents do, Tylenol, fluids, and rest but after finding her unresponsive Christmas morning they rushed her to a local hospital.

Christmas is still on hold at the Frey household, Jade's grandma Courtney Frey said they're keeping the Christmas tree up.

"It's our sign of hope that she is coming home, said Frey, "We will have Christmas in March if we have too."

The Delucia's had planned to go to their grandmother's house for Christmas but now the family is focused on ensuring Jade pulls through after becoming seriously ill.

"They didn't think anything of it because I think the highest her fever had gotten at home was 100," said Frey.

Once her father found her Christmas morning they rushed her to a local hospital where she began seizing.

That promoted staff to life flight her to the University of Iowa Stead Family Children's Hosptial.

"They tested her for a lot of different things to ensure it wasn't several infections or bacteria but the only thing that came back was influenza B that had gotten into her brain," said Frey.

It was a diagnosis her family never expected from the flu, leaving their youngest daughter fighting for her life.

"It was touch and go she just couldn't breathe, the flu had built up in her lungs, her brain had swelled," said Frey.

For nearly two weeks Jade's been hooked up to machines. MRI results showed extensive brain damage and doctors weren't sure what her condition would be after waking up.

"Thankfully two days ago Jade woke up and she opened her eyes and she started to move her little hands and we just started to see a little more of her come back to us," said Frey.

Jade two days ago

Now the family is praying for a full recovery. Frey said the prayers, donations, and support from the community has been invaluable as her parent's miss work.

"It's meant that Amanda and Seth could be with their daughter and that they didn't have to worry about paying their rent this month," said Frey.

However, her family has a message to other parents.

"One big thing that Amanda wanted me to say was, take them to the doctor if you feel like, well… No, after 24-48 hours get them tested. Demand for an influenza test, Amanda said I would have much rather paid for that then to be dealing with this," said Frey.

A gofundme started by a family friend has raised more than $6,000.00 so far. Other family friends are also selling bracelets and sweatshirts.

The family has also started a support group on Facebook where people can follow along Jade's journey to recovery.

Frey said she went straight to Walgreens to get her flu shot after the tests came back.

Influenza B is currently considered widespread in Iowa, according to the CDC.

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Ashley Neighbor

Reporter, Cedar Rapids

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