An 11-year-old Florida boy is dead after he developing a flesh-eating infection following a treadmill injury.
Jesse Brown of Winter Park, just north of Orlando, died less than two weeks after he developed a deadly Group A Strep (iGAS) infection, his family told USA TODAY Friday.
His death comes on the heels of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reporting an uptick in iGAS infections among children in the United States in 2022, as infection numbers returned to roughly pre-pandemic levels.
The boy’s cousin, Megan Brown, said Jesse sprained his ankle on a treadmill at a gym on Jan. 16.
She said he woke up with “a crazy rash” on Jan. 22.
“His leg was covered in splotchy, purple and red, almost like bruises,” she said. “It came on so fast… in just a matter of days it shut down all his organs.”
The boy was admitted to a hospital where doctors learned he developed the infection caused by the Group A Streptococcus bacteria, Brown said. The infection became the flesh-eating necrotizing fasciitis and caused the boy’s brain to swell.
He died on Jan. 27, Brown said after doctors had to intubate him.
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What is iGAS, or invasive group A strep?
Group A strep bacteria can cause a variety of illnesses, the CDC notes.
According to the CDC, iGAS infections include necrotizing fasciitis and streptococcal toxic shock syndrome (SSTS). STSS is a rare, but serious bacterial infection that can develop very quickly into low blood pressure, multiple organ failure, and even death.
When germs invade parts of the body that are normally free from them, the CDC said, the disease is usually severe, requiring care in a hospital and even causing death in some cases.
Each year about 14,000 to 25,000 cases of iGAS are confirmed, according to the CDC, and some 1,500 to 2,300 people die from it.
An increase in iGAS in children
Earlier this month, the CDC reported the increase in iGAS infections.
The health organization said that, during the COVID-19 pandemic, the U.S. saw low numbers of the infections in children saying it was likely due to steps many people took during the pandemic to prevent the spread of respiratory diseases including masking and physical distancing.
“Based on preliminary 2022 data, iGAS infections in children have returned to levels similar to those seen in pre-pandemic years,” the CDC reported.
The CDC writes that data also indicated iGAS infection levels in children:
- Increased earlier in the season (September through November) than in a typical year (December through April)
- Occurred over a similar time period as increases in respiratory viruses
- Varied greatly between different areas in the country, as has been seen in past years
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Do you think you have an iGAS infection?
The CDC recommends people:
- Learn about the symptoms for necrotizing fasciitis, streptococcal toxic shock syndrome, and cellulitis
- Seek medical care quickly if they think they or their child has one of these infections
- Make sure everyone in the household is up to date with flu and chickenpox vaccines, since getting these infections can increase risk for getting an iGAS infection
Natalie Neysa Alund covers trending news for USA TODAY. Reach her at email@example.com and follow her on Twitter @nataliealund.
Story Credit: usatoday.com