Huge, deep scabs. Red, angry-looking open wounds. White, flaky skin. All clustered on the face of a sweet, 11-month-old baby.
The mother of baby Elijah Burke, Kayley Burke, has shared images of her ill little boy as a warning to other parents about what can happen if they choose not to vaccinate their kids.
“Vaccinate your kids people. The pictures below show you exactly why,” Ms Burke, of Brisbane, wrote on Facebook.
“Our poor baby boy who is too young to be immunised has caught the chickenpox. It has almost been a week since they showed up. Today he was admitted to Ipswich Hospital with a secondary infection,” she added.
The photos, which have now been shared more than 55,000 times on Facebook, show a clearly uncomfortable child with sores extending from the top of his forehead to the bottom of his chin.
Even the poor baby’s nostrils and eyelids appear infected.
His small hands are bound tightly, presumably to prevent him from scratching at his sores.
Ms Burke and her older daughter Kahlia have also contracted the condition, but Kahlia was vaccinated so she only has a few spots.
"Kaliah face [sic] is about as bad as she has it... Thank god she is immunised," Ms Burke wrote in a follow-up comment to her Facebook post, posting a photo to prove her point.
The horrifying images of Elijah's sores have attracted countless messages of sympathy.
"My heart's breaking for you guys,"wrote one Facebook friend.
"It's just horrible watching their tiny helpless bodies lying there and not been able to do anything about it."
"Holy sh** Kayley! This has gotten SO much worse! Wishing you guys a speedy recovery," wrote another.
Fortunately, Elijah has now been discharged from hospital, and now just needs to remain on antibiotics for a few more days.
"We are able to get a few smiles and a little giggle out of him which is amazing," Ms Burke wrote, sharing a photo of her little boy in a car seat, on his way home.
"Thank you everyone for your well wishes and thoughts, it has definitely been appreciated."
We wish the Burkes all the best for a speedy recovery.
What is chickenpox, anyway?
Chickenpox, or Varicella, is a highly contagious infection caused by a member of the herpes group of viruses, according to the Department of Health.
While it's usually a mild disease that lasts a short time in healthy children, it can cause serious or even fatal complications in people of any age.
The highly contagious disease is spread through the air by coughing, sneezing or direct contact with people who are infected, according to the Department of Health.
"Vaccination has been highly effective in reducing varicella hospitalisations among young children in Australia," the department's website states. "Vaccination of children against chickenpox not only prevents serious disease in childhood, but also ensures immunity in adolescence and adulthood, when complications from the disease can have severe outcomes."
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