Coronavirus: SoCal toddler battling alternate, more-common strain of virus

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Infectious disease experts want people to know: the coronavirus is part of a large family of viruses.

They range from the common cold to more severe strains.

One local toddler is battling one of those less serious strains.

She's been hospitalized for weeks.

Christmas has been on hold at Gloria Aguilera's house.

"She wanted a scooter and a Minnie Mouse phone," she said.

But instead of opening presents, Aguilera's 3-year-old daughter Aliyah Cordova spent the holidays clinging to life.

"At first they just told me it was a viral flu," Aguilera said.

It looked like ordinary flu symptoms, but as Gloria's GoFundMe page details, Aliyah's condition quickly deteriorated.

"Two days after she went home with antibiotics, that's when she had trouble breathing," Aguilera said.

That's when Aguilera took her daughter to Children's Hospital Los Angeles where she was admitted.

She said "They listened to her lungs and they noticed that her left lung totally collapsed and that's when they took me in immediately."

On the morning of Christmas Eve, Aliyah was in severe respiratory distress. Doctors placed her on a ventilator.

A couple of days later, Aguilera would learn her daughter was suffering from a coronavirus.

She said "When I heard it on the news that's when I started asking the doctors is it something I need to worry about? Is she contagious or not? They told me it's not the same strain.

It is not the same strain making headlines.

CHLA infectious disease experts told Eyewitness News they identified Aliyah's coronavirus as NL63, one of the four most common strains that lead to cold symptoms.

It's far different from the novel coronavirus strain that originated from animals in Wuhan, China.

The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offers a list of the seven types of coronavirus that are found in humans.

The one in China is known as 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV). Since it was first detected in Wuhan China last year, Chinese health officials have identified 830 cases, leading to 25 deaths.

Adventist Health Emergency Care specialist Dr. Anthony Cardillo said, "Our immune systems have not seen this virus before. That's why we're all very susceptible."

But as with any cold or flu virus, doctors say the very old and the very young are more likely to succumb to secondary infections. After a month in the hospital, Aguilera says her daughter is expected to make a complete recovery. She hopes others will learn from her story.

"If you don't feel that your child is not getting the care that you need, take them somewhere that they would run every test possible to find out what's wrong with your child," Aguilera said.

Hopefully soon, Aliyah will have the Christmas she's been waiting for.
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