6-year-old Rocky River girl dies from rare neurological disease

Eva Harris (Photo courtesy: Cleveland Clinic)

UPDATE: The Ohio Department of Health said the case marked the third flu-related death of a child in the state in the last two weeks. Read more here.

ROCKY RIVER, Ohio – A 6-year-old Rocky River girl has died after battling a rare and severe form of a neurological disease.

Eva Harris was admitted to the Cleveland Clinic Children’s Hospital with a high fever on Tuesday. Doctors learned her body’s immune response to a viral infection had damaged her brain, according to a statement from the clinic.

Eva developed a severe form of acute disseminated encephalomyelitis (ADEM), or acute necrotizing encephalopathy of the childhood (ANEC), the Cleveland Clinic said. The disease did not appear to be caused by a single infectious agent and the case was extremely rare.

Eva was in kindergarten at Goldwood Primary School in Rocky River and participated in gymnastics at Great Lakes Gymnastics in Avon Lake, according to a Facebook post by Eva’s mother in a Rocky River Community page

Her mother posted the disease may have been sparked by the flu.

“We are truly humbled by the outpouring of love, prayers and support from the community for our beloved daughter, Eva Harris,” parents Jimsey Cary and Alex Harris said in a statement released through the Cleveland Clinic on Friday. “While this is a very difficult time for our family, we are extremely grateful for Eva’s medical team.

The community was offering support, including meals, for the family. The Facebook post said a memorial will be held at St. Christopher’s Church in Rocky River.

“Remember her face as her innocence is seen through your own children. Hold your children, love your children, celebrate your children, as they are not ours, they are the Lord’s,” the post said.