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West Michigan infant diagnosed with rare variant of a common virus

“Definitely trust your gut instinct. Especially when it comes to your children," Whitehead said.

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — After countless doctors visits, a young West Michigan girl was diagnosed with a rare variant of a common virus.

Now her mother wants to share a message to other parents.

Irene Whitehead is keeping a close eye on 3-month-old Ryleigh after she was hospitalized earlier this month.

“She is doing a lot better. She still has a little cough and some congestion but she's doing a lot better," Whitehead said.

Very earlier on in her young life, Ryleigh had cold-like symptoms and at one point during the summer she had trouble breathing.

Irene was initially told it was allergies, then the flu, but it was something else entirely—HPIV-4, also known as parainfluenza-4.

“They said that the fourth strand is commonly undiagnosed. They don't see many of them. But also this fourth strand is not on the like respiratory palette that they do for the respiratory viruses. So, they don't test for it as often," Whitehead said.

According to the CDC, there are four stands of parainfluenza virus. The viruses commonly infect infants and young children but anyone can get infected.

Unfortunately, it’s something Irene is all too familiar with.

“I have went through this before. I had a son two years ago who passed away from parainfluenza. He just had a cough and then the next day he passed away," Whitehead said.

Ryleigh’s case was severe and she was also fighting a bacterial infection at the time, but it took several doctors visits to diagnose, which is why Irene wants to share this message.

“Definitely trust your gut instinct. Especially when it comes to your children," Whitehead said.

Ryleigh is at home now and a heart monitor tracks her vitals while she sleeps.

And while she is still fighting the virus, her symptoms are being treated and experts believe this sweet little girl is going to be just fine.

The family has a GoFundMe page to raise money for Ryleigh's medical bill. You can find a link to that here.

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