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Missouri toddler develops rare brain disease after contracting the flu, family says

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A young girl in St. Louis, Missouri, is reportedly struggling to survive after developing a rare neurological disease that is likely a complication of the flu.

Earlier this month, Layla Thomas, 2, showed signs of the flu, her aunt, Jessica Kile told KMOV-4.

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“She had just a runny nose, maybe a little cough but nothing out of the ordinary that we hadn't seen before,” she explained.

But on March 18, the little girl’s symptoms worsened. She reportedly had a 107-degree fever and was rushed to the St. Louis Children’s Hospital. At that point, the toddler was “completely unresponsive” and was only “making small eye movements,” Kile said. Layla was subsequently diagnosed with Influenza A, according to a GoFundMe post in her name.

Eventually, doctors determined Layla developed a rare neurological disease known as necrotic encephalitis, a complication that can develop from the Influenza A or B virus.

“Even with appropriate anti-viral treatments some of these severe complications can result in permanent disability or even death,” Rachel Orscheln, a doctor at St. Louis Children’s Hospital who specializes in infectious diseases, told the news station.

According to Layla's fundraising page, the young girl has undergone “blood transfusions and has been in an induced coma" and has reportedly been given a “50/50 chance of survival.”

“Layla is a fighter and has been showing small signs of improvement every day,” the fundraising page reads, though it noted the toddler still “has a very long road of recovery ahead of her.”

She has remained in the pediatric intensive care unit for about 10 days, according to KMOV-4.

Kile described Layla as “loving” and said she is a “cuddle bug.”

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“We're just praying that we get that back,” she added.

Kile did not immediately return Fox News' request for additional comment Thursday.

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