Baby left with lifelong condition after falling ill with Covid-related disease

A baby has been left with a life-long condition after developing a syndrome linked to Covid-19.

Leia Godwin was taken to hospital with a high temperature and a rash when she was five months old.

Her mum, Hannah, initially thought it was an allergic reaction but called 111 just to be on the safe side.

But the mum-of-four from South Wales was told to to take her daughter to the Royal Gwent Hospital in Newport where Leia was put straight onto antibiotics for suspected sepsis or meningitis.

Leia's condition quickly deteriorated and she was moved onto the high-dependency unit before being transferred to the Noah's Ark Hospital in Cardiff.

She was eventually given a diagnosis of inflammatory syndrome linked with Covid-19, a side effect of the virus in children which had at the time only recently come to light.

Since then the disease has become known as paediatric inflammatory multi-system syndrome temporarily associated with Covid-19 (PIMS).

Leia spent four weeks in hospital but now, six months on, is doing really well and is hitting all the same milestones as twin Thea as they approach their first birthday, Wales Online reports.

"You would not think there is anything wrong with her," said 36-year-old mum Hannah, from Risca. "She is doing really well."

However during her time in hospital in April and May it was discovered that Leia has multiple aneurysms in her heart.

An aneurysm is an abnormal swelling in the artery wall of the heart which could possibly cause a heart attack or heart disease.

Due to existing heart conditions in the family both Thea and Leia were scanned as newborns. Thea was found to have a hole in her heart but Leia's appeared healthy.

Because of this doctors could identify the heart aneurysm as being a result of PIMS.

"She will be on blood thinners for the rest of her life," explained Hannah.

"Because of the heart aneurysm she's got to make sure her blood is not clotting.

"They appear to be stable now. They should not grow – any growth would be horrendous. The only risk factor is any stress that can put stress or pressure on her heart."

Hannah explained that Leia may need surgical intervention in the future, which could include a heart transplant. But she is hopeful that won't be required.

She now wears a helmet to protect her from any bumps and falls that could trigger a stressful reaction in her heart.

One of the mysteries still facing the family is how Leia contracted Covid-19 in the first place.

Leia's dad Simon Godwin has a heart condition which meant the family had been isolating long before Leia fell ill.

In antibody tests later conducted on Thea and Hannah neither of them were shown to be carrying any coronavirus antibodies but the same test on Leia showed that she had so it's thought that while Leia had the virus at some point neither Thea nor Hannah did.

"There are a couple of hundred kids that have been affected by PIMs like Leia and, from some parents that I spoke to, she hasn't got off lightly.

"Out of the families I have been in contact with some of them have come out of it relatively unscathed," said Hannah.

Sadly in May an eight-month-old baby died after contracting the same syndrome.

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