Dad who lost his limbs and needed facial reconstruction due to Strep A warns parents to be vigilant

Father, 42, who lost all four limbs and had to undergo facial reconstruction due to Strep A warns parents to be vigilant after officials confirmed eight children have now died from the killer bug

  • Alex Lewis thought he just had ‘man flu’ in 2013 but had contracted Strep A
  • He was given a 3% chance to live and needed to have all his limbs amputated
  • The 42-year-old advised concerned parents to push to get their children seen
  • Comes as a primary school pupil from Hampshire becomes the eighth child to die

A father who had all four limbs amputated and needed facial reconstruction after contracting Strep A tonight warned parents to be vigilant.

Alex Lewis thought he had a ‘man flu’ back in 2013 but it collapsed and was rushed to hospital where he was given just a three per cent chance of survival. He had contracted Strep A, followed by Septicemia.

Reports today that a primary school child from Waterlooville, Hampshire has become the latest to die after contracting the rare, invasive infection has brought it all back for the campaigner.

Mr Lewis, 42, said: ‘I saw an interview with the father of a little girl in Alder Hey hospital and that was pretty raw. I can only imagine what he’s going through and I know my family went through similar. It’s tough.

It’s great that the media is raising awareness. I think it’s important parents don’t panic as it is cold and flu season, but with low baseline immunity after two years of not mixing, things are spreading in schools and it’s quite a worrying time.’

Alex Lewis (pictured) thought he had ‘man flu’ back in 2013 but collapsed and was rushed to hospital where he was given just a three per cent chance of survival

The 42-year-old, who had all four limbs amputated and needed facial reconstruction after contracting Strep A, tonight warned parents to be vigilant

The 42-year-old, who had all four limbs amputated and needed facial reconstruction after contracting Strep A, tonight warned parents to be vigilant

Mr Lewis, who lives in Stockbridge, Hampshire with his wife Lucy Townsend and 11-year-old son Sam, is the patron of the Lee Spark NF Foundation, the only UK charity offering help and support to anyone affected by severe streptococcal infections or necrotising fasciitis.

He continued: ‘Don’t be afraid to ask for help and advice. We know the NHS is under a lot of pressure, but contact your GP, call 111 or go to A&E if necessary and get your child on antibiotics.

It’s better to be safe than sorry. I’m very lucky to be here. Don’t be afraid to push to have your child seen.’

The news today that an eighth child has succumbed to Strep A comes amid warnings that the UK is running low on antibiotics.

Three medications routinely used to fight off the bug — or tell-tale symptoms which might be caused by other bacterial infections — are listed as being in short supply.

Pharmacists told MailOnline the ongoing shortages, which could rumble on until 2023, were ‘heartbreaking’. Parents scrambling to find drugs are being turned away due to a lack of supplies, they claimed.

Mr Lewis, who lives in Stockbridge, Hampshire with his wife Lucy Townsend and 11-year-old son Sam (pictured together before his illness), is the patron of the Lee Spark NF Foundation, the only UK charity offering help and support to anyone affected by severe streptococcal infections or necrotising fasciitis

Mr Lewis, who lives in Stockbridge, Hampshire with his wife Lucy Townsend and 11-year-old son Sam (pictured together before his illness), is the patron of the Lee Spark NF Foundation, the only UK charity offering help and support to anyone affected by severe streptococcal infections or necrotising fasciitis

Meanwhile GPs have been told to be ready to dish out antibiotics to youngsters showing even the slightest Strep A symptoms as part of a drive to spot the bug early — when it’s most treatable.

Caused by Group A Streptococcus bacteria, Strep A infections usually result in a mild illness especially if antibiotics are prescribed early on in the disease.

However, health officials are concerned about an unusual rise in the number of serious Strep A infections, called an iGAS infection, where it penetrates deeper into the body and can cause life-threatening problems such as sepsis.

There have been 2.3 cases of iGAS per 100,000 children aged between one and four so far this year — more than quadruple the average of 0.5 each season before the pandemic.

A primary child from Morelands Primary School in Waterlooville is reportedly the latest casualty of the UK's ongoing Strep A outbreak

A primary child from Morelands Primary School in Waterlooville is reportedly the latest casualty of the UK’s ongoing Strep A outbreak

Regional data shows cases are highest in the Yorkshire and the Humber with 1.4 cases per 100,000 people.

Downing Street today urged parents to be on the ‘lookout’ for any signs of the infection, which is usually harmless. It stresses the NHS is ‘well prepared’ for such situations.

The first symptoms of a Strep A infection, such as a fever and sore throat, can be mistaken for a range of common winter viruses for which antibiotics are useless. One top health advisor today said it made it ‘very difficult’ to detect.

Other symptoms may include muscle aches and vomiting. Strep A can also cause scarlet fever.

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