TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — A Florida boy died of a flesh-eating bacteria days after he twisted his ankle, his family said, according to WESH.
Jesse Brown, 11, of Winter Park, rolled his ankle on a treadmill a few weeks ago, his cousin, Megan Brown told WOFL-TV.
His mother noticed sores on his leg a few days later and he was taken to an area hospital.
“His whole leg was covered in like splotchy, purply, red, almost like bruises,” Brown said.
Brown said the 11-year-old was admitted to the ICU, where he was diagnosed with a Group A streptococcal (GAS) infection. Group A streptococcal (GAS) infections occur when bacteria enter your body and causes an illness. Symptoms may include swelling, redness, foul smell, and fever.
The Group A strep turned into a case of a flesh-eating disease known as necrotizing fasciitis, a rare infection caused by several different types of bacteria that can travel throughout the body, damaging skin and soft tissues. It can be deadly.
“They said that because he rolled his ankle, that that’s likely where the infection attacked it. Because it was already weak,” Megan Brown said.
Brown spent days in the hospital, but his condition did not improve. The bacteria caused his brain to swell, and he died a few days later.
“In my mind, I was in complete disbelief. I was like, he’ll be fine. This could never happen to our family,” Megan Brown said. “For this to kill him in just a matter of days was crazy,”
Brown said their family is opening up about the experience to raise awareness.
“If there was more awareness, maybe we could have caught it earlier when we noticed he had a fever,” Brown said.
Orlando pediatrician Dr. Candice Jones told WOFL there’s been an uptick in cases of group A strep among children nationwide.
“Some of the speculations has been that some of those cases started after respiratory infections, and we had been seeing an uptick in those types of infections anyway post-pandemic,” Jones said. “So there are several routes of entry in ways that these bacteria can cause mild to severe infection and even end in death.”