A SICK baby was rushed back to hospital after contracting measles from her sisters.
Little Ellen Staniland caught the potentially fatal disease during the recent outbreak and was forced to spend a week in hospital while she recovered.
But within days of returning home, she was rushed back in after being hit with a severe case of sickness, causing her to lose weight and dehydrate.
Tiny Ellen, who is currently on a drip for 12 hours a day, featured in the Mail earlier this year after having major heart and bowel surgery just weeks after being born.
Ellen, now nearly eight-months old, was born with Down's Syndrome and duodenal atresia, a condition that affects the small intestine making it difficult for her to eat properly.
She was also born with atrioventricular septal defect (AVSD), a condition that means blood is being pumped around her body too quickly.
Her mum and dad, who live in Shakespeare Avenue, Hartlepool, with Ellen's six brothers and sisters, describe her life as a "rollercoaster".
The latest twist happened after her three sisters, Sarah, 12, a pupil at St. Hild's Secondary School, Claire, nine, and four-year-old Katie, both pupils at St. Cuthbert's Primary School, contracted measles, a highly contagious and potentially fatal condition.
The children had not been immunised against the condition.
All of the Staniland children are now free of measles, but brave Ellen, who suffered a mild form, was rushed to hospital by worried mum Sacha Higgins five weeks ago.
Sacha, 36, said: "Four of my children contracted measles but they are all fine now. Claire got it first and she passed it onto the other two.
"They were kept off school for about a month in total, and given medication for the irritation and to help keep their temperatures down.
"Ellen got it last, and while it was only a mild dose we were obviously very worried after what she has been through."
She was treated at the University Hospital of North Tees, in Stockton, for a week and returned home.
But within days her condition detioriated and she was rushed back in suffering from severe sickness and diarrhoea. Her weight dropped from 8lb 7oz to around 6lb, and she was suffering from dehydration.
Ellen was transferred to the Royal Victoria Infirmary, in Newcastle, in early May.
The youngster is on a drip, which is slowly building her weight back up, and she is expected to be in hospital for at least another three weeks.
Dad Michael Staniland, 35, is travelling through to the hospital on a daily basis.
Mum-of-seven Sacha, who is staying at the hospital, added: "Ellen was in intensive care for the first three days and that was a nightmare.
"She has been through a lot in such a short space of time, and we really didn't want to go through all this again. The drip is to give her nutrition to help build her strength after the sickness and diarrhoea.
"She is not very strong at the moment but she is getting there. It is a case of taking each day as it comes."
Ellen has three other siblings, Kaylie, 18, who works at Garlands, Andrea, 16, who goes to Hartlepool Sixth Form College and Michael, 15, a St. Hild's pupil.