Leeds girl’s mystery illness breakthrough

Alicia Brook with her daughter Melody.
Alicia Brook with her daughter Melody.
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MEDICS have finally found answers over why a seven-year-old was struck down by a mystery illness which left her disabled.

The YEP revealed in 2009 that Melody Brook suddenly lost her ability to walk, talk or feed herself.

Doctors were baffled by her condition but, after years of tests, have discovered Melody was still suffering from an infection she picked up as a baby.

Mum Alicia said she was relieved at the explanation of her daughter’s condition.

“I’ve now got something to go on, I’ve got information,” said the mum-of-three. “This is not a diagnosis but it’s something.”

Melody, from Belle Isle, Leeds, picked up an infection as a baby which caused brain inflammation encephalitis.

Doctors warned could she could be left with brain damage but she recovered and developed normally.

Then in July 2008 she started to lose her speech and movement.

Since then she has been in and out of hospital and has been seen by experts in Leeds, Sheffield and London. They initially diagnosed ataxia, or communication problems, but didn’t know the reason for her decline.

Now a biopsy has shown her brain is still affected by the herpes virus, which medics thought had been treated successfully.

An expert says the findings are “extremely unusual”.

“I’ve never felt so much relief in my life as when I got that letter through,” Mrs Brook said.

“They’re now trying to find out why it’s affected her so badly.”

Melody is now being given intensive drug treatment in Leeds General Infirmary.

“She will be on it for life and it will prevent further damage,” Mrs Brook, 27, added.

“There’s a very small chance of recovery.”

Now her mum is also questioning why Melody was given the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccination.

The youngster’s deterioration started soon after she had the jab in 2008 and Mrs Brook has now found that her child’s medical records showed a doctor had recommended that Melody should not be given any live vaccines.

She is now planning to seek answers over why she was not made aware of the recommendation.

Herpes simplex encephalitis is a severe viral infection of the nervous system which can be fatal. In rare cases, patients who have been treated can relapse later.