Baby fights swine flu virus

BATTLING Jessica Davies is one of the youngest swine flu victims in the country after contracting the illness at just one year old.

And the poorly Hartlepool youngster is now on Tamiflu – the drug which helps combat the bug in adults – in the hope that her condition improves.

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Be alert to flu symptoms

Her parents Lindsay and Athol Davies spoke to the Mail to warn other parents to look out for the symptoms of swine flu – also known as H1N1 flu virus – as it took three trips to see doctors before little Jessica was tested for it.

Lindsay, of Martin Grove in the Rift House area of Hartlepool, said: "I would just like to warn other parents to keep going back to their doctors if they think their child has swine flu.

"If it wasn't for a doctor at the hospital suggesting Jessica was tested then she wouldn't have been diagnosed and that to me is very worrying.

"Jessica is on Tamiflu now, but it's still worrying because you're always hoping they're going to get better."

Jessica's ordeal started with a cough, runny nose, and high temperature shortly after Christmas.

It came just days after her four-year-old brother Brandon – who attends St Cuthbert's Primary School nursery – had been diagnosed with flu by his GP after suffering symptoms of a bad cold.

At first Lindsay gave Jessica paracetamol, like Brandon had been told to, but when she developed conjunctivitis she took her to their doctor who prescribed the tot with eye drops.

When the condition did not improve, Lindsay, a cleaner, did her own internet research and discovered that conjunctivitis was one of swine flu's symptoms, but there had not been many reported cases in the UK.

The 25-year-old then took her daughter back to see a GP who sent Jessica to the University Hospital of North Tees to be checked over.

It was there that Lindsay suggested checking for swine flu, and after a test was done, results came back on Monday diagnosing the youngster with the strain.

Lindsay and Athol, 29, an IT support worker, are now hoping the medication will work sooner rather than later.

"It was a shock," said Lindsay.

"With the Tamiflu, we have to open up an adult capsule and tip the contents into her yoghurt twice every day.

"We're just keeping our fingers crossed that she gets better. She has perked up a bit since she started taking it.

"I'm just really grateful for that doctor taking a chance and testing her for it because you never know what might have happened."

A spokeswoman for the Strategic Health Authority (SHA) could not refer to individual cases, though confirmed that children under five are deemed as being at "high-risk" of catching swine flu.