Toddler beats meningitis twice in five months

Martha, two, defied 14 million-to-one odds to see off the disease.

Doctors had warned Martha's parents,  Nicola and Mitchell Norman that she would probably not survive the illness, which attacks membranes covering the brain and spinal cord. Martharom from Chatteris in Cambridgeshire was struck twice in five months by the same strain of ­bacterial meningitis, she suffered a stroke and septicaemia, and had to endure hours of gruelling surgery. Martha first fell ill in September 2014. When she woke floppy and drowsy Nicola and Mitchell took her to A&E. Hospital medics diagnosed the potentially lethal 7F bacterial strain of the disease, which does not trigger a tell-tale rash like the more manageable viral form. This makes it harder to spot. Martha was transferred to Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge, where she was put into a medically induced coma to help her body fight it off. But 10 days later she suffered a stroke, leaving her fighting for life. Incredibly, she pulled through and went home after months in hospital. he family hoped the worst was behind them – only for Martha to contract the same 7F strain again in February. Mum Nicola, of Chatteris, Cambs, said: “I recognised the signs. We caught it so early we didn’t give it a chance. “We never thought it would happen to us again but unfortunately it did.” Doctors confirmed the diagnosis, put Martha on powerful antibiotics straight away and kept her in hospital for a week. Husband Mitchell, 31, said: “Luckily it didn’t hit her as hard that time. She’ll have to be on antibiotics for two years to ensure the infection has gone.” Martha was born deaf and is thought to have got meningitis after a cochlear implant, at age one. Mitchell added: “The doctors think that was the route to infection. “To look at her now, you would never know what she’s been through.” 
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