Lucinda Armstrong knew something was wrong with her 2-week-old baby, Ezra. He had turned red and cried all day long. When she took Ezra’s temperature, the thermometer read 101.6, which, according to KETV, is astonishingly high for a newborn. Armstrong took Ezra to the emergency room. After several tests, doctors decided to do a spinal tap. 

The procedure revealed that Ezra had meningitis. Meningitis is a life-threatening illness that, according to the CDC, occurs when the membranes of the brain become inflamed due to a bacterial infection. Further tests determined that listeria was the bacteria causing Ezra’s meningitis. 

Doctors said Ezra likely picked up listeria from his mom during delivery. Listeria is a bacteria that is found on cold cuts and other refrigerated meats and cheeses. Pregnant women are usually cautioned not to eat deli meats during pregnancy.

Ezra’s mom was probably ill with listeria, but didn’t know it because her immune system was fighting it, Ezra’s doctors said. Since Ezra’s immune system was so immature, it wasn’t able to fight the bacteria. “They said he was in pretty bad shape,” said Armstrong.  “They said we probably would've lost him if this would've gone untreated.”

According to KETV, Ezra is doing well, but is still going to checkups to make sure there are no lasting effects from the meningitis.