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Parents’ meningitis warning after ‘miracle’ baby’s fight to recovery

PUBLISHED: 07:36 06 March 2020 | UPDATED: 07:36 06 March 2020

Zachary Dorsett was only two months old when he was rushed into hospital after contracting meningitis. Picture: Rachael Kerry

Zachary Dorsett was only two months old when he was rushed into hospital after contracting meningitis. Picture: Rachael Kerry

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A “miracle baby” is on the road to recovery after a seven-week fight with meningitis.

Zachary Dorsett was only two months old when he was rushed into hospital after contracting meningitis. Picture: Rachael KerryZachary Dorsett was only two months old when he was rushed into hospital after contracting meningitis. Picture: Rachael Kerry

Zachary Dorsett, who is now five months old, was rushed to hospital three days after Christmas after becoming "critically ill" due to pneumococcal meningitis and an abscess on the brain.

He spent seven weeks in Addenbrooke's in Cambridge and was described as a miracle by staff after fighting back from several seizures and a stroke.

Parents Will Dorsett and Rachael Kerry, from Mulbarton, are now trying to raise awareness as their baby did not have a rash - a common sign of the infection.

Miss Kerry said: "It's amazing for a doctor to say he's a miracle baby. It makes you take a step back, what he's gone through is an awful lot."

Zachary Dorsett was only two months old when he was rushed into hospital after contracting meningitis. Picture: Rachael KerryZachary Dorsett was only two months old when he was rushed into hospital after contracting meningitis. Picture: Rachael Kerry

The couple, who are also parents to five-year-old Isla, noticed on December 28 their son had stopped feeding, was being sick and developed a temperature.

They called 111 and after a visit from a paramedic were sent to A&E at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital.

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Miss Kerry said: "Even at this point things didn't seem too serious. We presumed maybe some antibiotics and a day or two in hospital.

"When they mentioned meningitis we said he didn't have a rash. He did not have a rash but he did have a mark."

While in A&E a doctor noticed a "bruise" on Zachary's forehead, which the family believed was a birthmark. He underwent a lumbar puncture and CT scan which uncovered an abscess in his brain.

Pneumococcal meningitis can prove life-threatening if not treated rapidly, as it causes an inflammation in the layers that surround the brain and spinal cord. Around 200 cases are reported in the UK, with most occurring in babies under 18 months.

In his first week, Zachary had 140ml drained from the abscess, seizures, a stroke and a blood transfusion resulting in him needing intensive care.

Staff warned the couple it was "not looking good" unless he responded to antibiotics.

Miss Kerry said: "He went downhill very quickly. At the end of the first week we were told he wasn't responding to the antibiotics and there was nothing else they could do for him."

As the infection reduced, staff were able to see it had left scarring around the membrane, meaning brain fluid was unable to drain.

Zachary then had operations to draw off the fluid including a shunt, allowing him to return home on Valentine's Day. He is regularly taking antibiotics.

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