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WATCH: Poorly Cornish tot home from hospital

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7:32am 16th August 2017

A tot from Cornwall, left with cerebral palsy and seizures because of a pregnancy virus, has come home from hospital.

Pirate FM told you Joanne Van Rooyen from Mitchell wanted to warn pregnant women to check out the risks of CMV.

The common virus is passed through bodily fluids and can stop the brain developing properly if women catch it for the first time when they are expecting.

Joanne says three-year-old Sevva, who has up to 60 seizures a day, was rushed to Bristol Children's Hospital after they became out of control.

After making changes to the little girl's medication and running tests, neurologists decided surgery was the best plan.

Now the family has been able to bring her home, after noticing a big change in her condition.


Joanne said: "Sevva's seizures got out of control and her health was affected terribly.

"She was rushed through to Bristol where the neurologists got involved straight away in making changes to medications, diet and had meetings on how to help her.

"After various tests they decided emergency operation to get a VNA (Vagal Nerve Stimulator) into her to help with her seizures.

"We have noticed a big change in her and finally, after six weeks, we have been allowed home.

"Sevva has been so brave and strong throw it all and always had a smile to share".

sevva 2

Joanne said: "Each day is a blessing. Each day she is awake with us, we just take it as it comes and we hope that she will carry on and that she will live on, really.

"It's quite hard, especially when you fall pregnant for the first time and you're going to be a parent - you don't think anything will go wrong or that it will happen to you.

"When you're then thrown in the deep end, you think 'wow, where am I going to start?' - but you just get on with it".

It was not until after Sevva was born that her parents realised she was not completely healthy.

Doctors told them a lot of damage had been done in the early stages of pregnancy and they were warned she could have many developmental disabilities, including losing her sight and hearing.

So far she has been diagnosed with cerebral palsy, epilepsy, swallowing disorder and is developmentally delayed.


Joanne added: "Sevva is now three years old with many challenges, though none of these hold her back as she is a very determined and happy little girl, who has so much love to give and fights a good fight with everything that is thrown at her.

"She loves people and knows how to win them over. She is very affectionate and has plenty of kisses to hand out freely.

"The question I am myself and other health professionals are: Why is CMV not mentioned by health professionals to nursery schools, pregnant mothers, etc? Why is it kept quiet?

"Is much being done to find a prevention? And why is there no screening for CMV in pregnancy?"

Joanne is now pleaing with other mothers and those who want to have a family to be careful and learn about the virus.

She said: "I don't want to scare anyone but just want to make them aware of the dangers out there, because I never thought this would happen to us".


CMV is a common virus that is harmless to most people but can be dangerous to unborn babies.

It is related to the herpes family and signs include flu-like symptoms, lack of energy or fever.

Ways to reduce risks include extra hygeine practises, such as washing hands after wiping noses and changing nappies.

For more information, click here.

7:32am 16th August 2017

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