Sophia Garabedian, the 5-year-old Sudbury girl hospitalized with Eastern equine encephalitis last month, is back home after being discharged from Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital, her family said.
“Sophia has been so courageous through this entire ordeal and made enormous progress from those terrifying first hours and days to waking up, breathing on her own, first words and steps and now at a point where she can go home,’’ the family said in a statement.
The statement continued, “While this is an important milestone we are thrilled to celebrate, she still has a long road ahead of care on an outpatient basis to keep improving her mobility and continue to work to recover her cognitive functions such as long-term memory. We have no doubt she will continue to amaze us.’’
Garabedian was rushed from her home to Boston Children’s Hospital in an ambulance on Sept. 3, after she experienced “flu symptoms, headaches, and appeared to be having a seizure,’’ according to an online GoFundMe fund-raiser set up for her family. Garabedian had a high fever, brain swelling, and “quickly became unresponsive,’’ the posting said.
Tests came back positive for EEE, a mosquito-borne illness that is rare but can be fatal. EEE can cause brain inflammation and those who recover from it often live with severe and devastating neurological complications. There is no treatment.
Garabedian moved out of the intensive care unit at Children’s Hospital later in September, according to her GoFundMe page. She was transferred to Spaulding Rehab in Charlestown.
In a Friday statement, her family said, “At this time, we just look forward to bringing Sophia home and beginning to return to as normal lives as possible. Her story and recovery is still ongoing and our focus is there and will continue be so.’’
Three people have died from exposure to EEE in Massachusetts this year, according to the state’s Department of Public Health. There have been 12 human cases of the illness in the state this year, officials said.
As of Tuesday, more than 30 communities in Massachusetts were at critical risk for the EEE virus, according to the state. Critical risk prompts the state to encourage that outdoor gatherings like organized sports events be canceled or rescheduled to avoid the peak mosquito hours from dusk until dawn.