Jackson, Arkansas — When a little girl named Kayla started complaining about her fever, doctors thought something was wrong.
The next day, Kayla’s parents started getting sick.
“We thought she was going to die,” her mother, Amy Bancroft, told ABC News.
“But when she came in, she had a fever.”
Doctors and nurses found Kayla, and they took her to the Jackson County Children’s Clinic in Madison, Arkansas.
She had severe fever and a rash.
“It was the most horrible thing I’ve ever seen in my life,” Amy Banchrop told ABC affiliate WYFF-TV.
“She’s a really strong little girl, and she was on steroids.”
Kayla has since recovered and is doing well, but her parents say it’s only a matter of time before she goes into shock and dies.
“That’s the first thing that comes to mind, when you think about Kayla and all that, is just how sick she is,” Bancrot said.
“The first thing you think is, ‘Oh my god, she’s dead,'” Bancrop added.
The Arkansas Department of Health and Human Services (ADHS) has launched an investigation into the death of Kayla Bancrrot, who died in April 2017.
“I don’t think we’re going to get to that point before we find out exactly what went wrong,” ADHS Director of Public Health Chris Winton told ABC.
Winton said that although the health department was able to track the child’s medical records to the point that she was found at the clinic, it was not able to determine what caused the child to become sick.
ADHS is investigating the case to determine whether the child was vaccinated, which would help determine the vaccine’s effectiveness, Winton added.
“If we can get that information, we can do a better job of getting vaccines to the people who need them,” he added.
Health experts have criticized the lack of a vaccine in Arkansas and have called for the state to make sure that people are vaccinated in the event of an outbreak.
“Every time we have an outbreak, we always need to do everything we can to make it safer for people to be able to be vaccinated,” Dr. James Mankiw, a professor of infectious diseases at the Johns Hopkins University School of Public Affairs, told the Associated Press.
“As a state, we need to be more vigilant and be able get our hands on vaccines and make sure we get them for everyone who needs them.”
It’s also unclear whether the Bancrs have received a second shot of the polio vaccine.
The vaccine was approved by the CDC in the mid-1990s, but has only been administered to about 20 people in the US.
“There’s been no indication of an uptick in the number of people who have been vaccinated, but there are indications of an increase in the incidence of illness,” Dr, Andrew Wexler, the director of the CDC’s National Polio Vaccine Program, told Fox News.
Dr. Michael Osterholm, a doctor at Children’s Hospital in St. Louis who has worked with the vaccine program, told CBS News that while the vaccine is safe, there’s no evidence of a “dramatic increase” in the amount of polio that is being produced.
“This is not a vaccine that is producing a lot of the vaccine that’s being used in the United States,” Osterholmsaid.
“In fact, it’s actually producing less vaccine per vaccine.”
But, according to Dr. William Thompson, an infectious disease physician at the University of Missouri School of Medicine, there are signs of an overall uptick in cases of polio in the Midwest, including in Missouri, Illinois and Iowa.
“My personal feeling is we’re at a low point in terms of polio outbreaks,” Dr Thompson told ABCNews.com.
“Right now, the polio situation is getting worse in the country.”
The CDC has also acknowledged that it’s too early to tell whether the vaccination program is working as it should.
“While we are not able yet to definitively answer whether the vaccine has increased the overall number of polio cases, we do have evidence that it has increased vaccine effectiveness,” Dr Wexlersaid.
According to Dr Mankweiss, the number and severity of cases of vaccine-related polio declined dramatically in the 1990s and early 2000s, and in 2016, a CDC-funded study found that the vaccine was working.
The 2016 report found that in the U.S., fewer than 15,000 people were diagnosed with polio in 2016.
It was the first time in the nation’s history that fewer than 10,000 cases of the disease were reported in a single year.
“Today, the virus is more prevalent, more aggressive, and the overall incidence is much higher than it was in the past,” Dr Miskowitt said.