This isn’t Halloween, and this story isn’t funny. Here’s the short version:
- Father contracts step throat in early March.
- Family is tested for strep.
- Six-year old daughter has bacteria even though she has shown no symptoms, and is given a ten-day course of antibiotics.
- Daughter starts exhibiting flu-like symptoms on March 25th, and is misdiagnosed has having Influenza A.
- On March 27th, she has pain and swelling on left leg, and is rushed to Arkon Children’s Hospital. She is now diagnosed with necrotizing fasciitis, commonly referred to as flesh-eating bacteria.
- Her leg is amputated below the knee.
Strep throat normally affects the tonsils and throat. The cause is Streptococcus bacteria. If the bacteria enters the bloodstream, it can then cause necrotizing fasciitis, which is life threatening.
What the CDC says about how you get strep:
Strep throat is an infection in the throat and tonsils caused by group A Streptococcusbacteria (called “group A strep”). Group A strep bacteria can also live in a person’s nose and throat without causing illness. The bacteria are spread through contact with droplets after an infected person coughs or sneezes. If you touch your mouth, nose, or eyes after touching something that has these droplets on it, you may become ill. If you drink from the same glass or eat from the same plate as a sick person, you could also become ill. It is also possible to get strep throat from touching sores on the skin caused by group A strep. (2)
This is the third published report in recent weeks about amputations related to strep.
What you need to consider:
- Strep bacteria can live in the nose for weeks without symptoms. It’s possible that a saline nasal spray may help reduce the risk of infection or ease symptoms once infection starts.
- If someone in your family gets it, everyone needs to be tested. Same for the workplace.
- Don’t expose others to strep unnecessarily. Stay home from work or school.
- Brian Zimmerman, “6-year-old loses leg after complication from strep throat,” Becker’s Infection Control and Clinical Quality, 5 April 2017. http://www.beckershospitalreview.com/quality/6-year-old-loses-leg-after-complication-from-strep-throat.html
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “Worried your sore throat may be strep?” https://www.cdc.gov/features/strepthroat/
- eMedicine Health, “Strep Throat: Home Treatment.” http://www.emedicinehealth.com/strep_throat_home_treatment-health/article_em.htm
Photo courtesy CDC website.