A Florida teenager has died after contracting mononucleosis, also known as the ‘kissing disease.’
Ariana Rae Delfs, 17, from Fernandina Beach, began experiencing a sore throat and a near-constant headache about three weeks ago, but her parents assumed she just had a cold or the flu.
They took her to see a doctor who ran several tests, including for mononucleosis, or mono, but couldn’t figure out what was wrong, reported WJAX.
Finally, after Ariana began throwing up constantly, she was taken to a hospital, where she suffered a stroke after complaining that she couldn’t feel her legs.
She was rushed to another hospital, where she was finally diagnosed with the Epstein-Barr virus, which causes mono.
However, by then it was too late. The stroke – triggered by mono – had left Ariana with irreparable brain damage and she passed away three days later.
Ariana Rae Delfs, 17 (left and right), from Fernandina Beach, Florida, came down with flu-like symptoms three weeks ago. Her parents took her to see a doctor, who ran several tests, including for mononucleosis, but couldn’t pinpoint a diagnosis
After throwing up repeatedly one evening, Ariana’s parents took her the hospital early the next morning. Pictured: Ariana
Ariana, one of three children and a senior at Fernandina Beach High School, was described by her family as a self-taught musician a scholar-athlete.
Her father, Mark Delfs, told WJAX that when she first became sick, he wasn’t too worried aside from her headache.
‘The persistent thing all the way through was a headache, she seemed to always have a headache,’ he said.
She had been tested for several viruses, including mono, at her doctor’s office, but none were detected.
One evening, last week, she began throwing up constantly.
Her parents were ‘very nervous’ so they took her to the hospital early the next morning, WJAX reported.
But her condition only got worse.
At the hospital, Ariana tried to stand up to go the bathroom, but told her parents she had no feeling in her legs.
‘She felt like her legs were just giving out,’ her father told WJAX.
Doctors believed she was suffering a stroke and had her airlifted to a hospital in Jacksonville, 35 miles away.
At the hospital, Ariana (pictured) complained that she couldn’t feel her legs and doctors determined she had suffered a stroke
She was airlifted to a hospital in Jacksonville, where doctors diagnosed her with the Epstein-Barr virus, which causes mono. Pictured: Ariana, left, with a friend
‘Her words were very slurred at times,’ Delfs said.
‘She was just talking gibberish, and the damage was already beginning at that point, which we just didn’t know.’
It was at the Jacksonville hospital where doctors learned Ariana had Epstein-Barr virus, which causes mono.
It’s transmitted through saliva meaning someone can become infected by kissing somebody who has the virus..
Doctors told Ariana’s family that the stroke had caused irreversible brain damage, and she died three days later. Pictured: Ariana
However, it can also be contracted by sharing foods and drinks with someone who has mono, or through droplets from a cough or sneeze.
Symptoms typically appear four to six weeks after exposure and include a sore throat, fever, fatigue, swollen tonsils and a headache.
The virus is rarely ever fatal.
Doctors told the Delfs family that Ariana had suffered irreversible brain damage because of her stroke.
‘Her brain swelled to the point where it couldn’t function and brain damage did occur,’ her father told WJAX.
‘And we just made the decision that it was time to let her go.’
He says he hopes his daughter’s story urges parents to be on top of their child’s health as soon as they start exhibiting symptoms.
‘In our case, it wasn’t enough, but in somebody else’s case it may save their life,’ Delfs said.
Her parents have started a legacy fund on GoFundMe page to raise money for their daughter’s favorite passions, including music and arts programs for children.
As of Thursday afternoon, more than $15,900 has been raised out of an initial $1,000 goal.