Studies show that between 1% and 5% of dengue cases can develop into neurological disease and cause serious damage. The young Poliana Matías de Souza, who lives in Divinópolis, Minas Gerais, is included in this statistic. In 2019, when she was 15 years old, the previously healthy and active teenager saw her life change radically when she contracted the virus and became paralyzed.
Her mother, nurse Elisangela Maria Matias Correa, says her daughter showed classic symptoms of the disease such as headaches, body aches and fever. Pollyanna then received her first treatments for the disease at home under her mother's care.
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When she saw that her daughter was starting to suffer from more serious symptoms, such as vomiting, stomach pain and mental confusion, she took Pollyanna to the emergency room of a private hospital in Divinopolis, in Minas Gerais. “The doctor said it was classic dengue fever and that my daughter was a 'teenager' because she had a fight with her boyfriend,” Elisangela says. “But I knew that this display of mental confusion might mean a neurological problem, and I insisted that she be examined by a neurologist,” he says.
The nurse says that while they were in the hospital, while they were waiting for the CT scan results, Pollyanna started having convulsions. Even with medication, the teen did not improve.
“She was intubated and put into a coma so doctors could control the seizures, but she didn’t get better,” Elizangela says.
Pollyanna was hospitalized for 11 months, seven of them in a coma, according to her mother, but doctors finally convinced her. The student is currently 19 years old, has lost her sight and body movements, breathes with the help of machines and uses a tube to eat. Despite the consequences, Pollyanna is conscious and studying – she is in her second semester at nutrition college.
Information from G1 and BBC.
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