It began with what seemed to be nothing more than a twisted ankle suffered while on a treadmill. But the complications from that injury led to the death of Jesse Brown, 11, of Winter Park, Florida.
The boy died of a massive strep-A infection late last month, according to WOFL-TV.
“In my mind, I was in complete disbelief. I was like, he’ll be fine. This could never happen to our family,” said Megan Brown, Jesse Brown’s cousin.
The sprain was likely accompanied by a cut, according to WESH. The family, however, knew nothing more than a sprain had taken place until days later.
“His leg was covered in like a reddish-purple splatchiness, and that was the first sign of the strep-A,” Megan Brown said, according to Click Orlando.
She told WESH that “his arms and legs were very cold, but his body was very, very hot.”
“It festered in his ankle, because that was the weak spot from where he sprained his ankle, and then it just continued throughout his body, and once it got in his bloodstream, his organs started shutting down,” she said according to Click Orlando.
“They had to bring him back a couple of times because his heart was doing crazy things. His organs were starting to shut down, and they had to intubate him,” Megan Brown said, according to WESH.
The flesh-eating bacteria caused the boy’s brain to swell, leading to his death, WOFL reported.
“For this to kill him in just a matter of days was crazy,” Megan Brown said.
“If there was more awareness, maybe we could have caught it earlier when we noticed he had a fever,” Megan Brown said.
Dr. Alan Cross, an infectious diseases specialist at the University of Maryland Medical Center and a professor at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, said strep-A can move quickly, according to WESH.
“If group A strep forms there, it can cause this very rapid infection, and the reason for that is that it makes a toxin,” Cross said.
“The bottom line here is that, first, properly clean the wound and then be able to watch it over time.”
Jesse Brown’s family said he wore a boot over his ankle after the injury, which meant the wound was not visible.
“It’s a horrible case, but it is going to increase our awareness,” said Dr. Todd Husty, Seminole County’s medical director.
Husty said unusual symptoms should be investigated.
“If their symptoms are greater than what you would expect with a sprained ankle, greater than what you would expect with a wound, then yeah we probably got to get it checked out, especially if that symptom includes a fever,” Husty said.
Dr. Candice Jones, an Orlando pediatrician, said strep-A cases in children are rising, according to WOFL.
“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.”
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.