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12-year-old Wash. state girl battling deadly staph infection

Deja Smith is currently in the hospital battling MRSA. (Still image from contributed video)

WASHOUGAL, Wash. - Just days from her 13th birthday, a girl was rushed to the hospital with the deadly staph infection MRSA.

Doctors don’t know how Deja Smith got it.

A family spokesperson says all they can do now is pray.

“Right now, Deja is battling MRSA. She’s full-blown sepsis. She has pneumonia in both her lungs,” said family friend, Ashley Marshall.

Marshall says she and her husband know Deja and her family through their church, New Horizons in Washougal.

Over the holidays, they went to the hospital to pray.

“It’s really all we can do,” Marshall says.

Just two weeks ago, Deja was your typical pre-teen, outgoing and full of energy. Then her mother says she didn’t feel well and a day later ended up in the hospital with a resistant staph infection, or MRSA.


“It’s a really virulent bacteria,” says Dr. Paul Cieslak with the Oregon Health Authority.

He says anyone can get it, even people with healthy immune systems.

“When you see redness forming after a scrape over a couple days, and especially if there’s puss coming out of it, that’s staph aureus,” Cieslak said.

Marshall says it’s a mystery how Deja got it.

“It just started out with what we think every day – my kid has a runny nose, a headache, has your typical flu symptoms, and here Deja is now in a coma,” Marshall says.

She says doctors at Randall Children’s Hospital have told the family Deja could be in that state for a couple months.

Doctors say MRSA can travel fast, so it’s important as soon as you see the symptoms to get to the hospital.

Those symptoms include a bump or infected area on the skin that might be red, swollen, painful, warm to the touch and accompanied by a fever.

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