How do you get a Strep A infection? The baby’s legs have to be amputated after contracting an infection
A one-year-old boy who has had both legs amputated and who may still be losing his fingers has become the brave face of a deadly outbreak sweeping through Australia.
The Strep A infection that has ravaged little Ryan Lines’ body started with a runny nose, but quickly turned life-threatening as he went into severe septic shock.
His frantic parents Jessica and Sam Lines rushed their son to hospital in Broken Hill, western NSW, on Dec. 8, where he went into cardiac arrest for 10 minutes.
Doctors were miraculously able to revive Ryan, but his parents were told at the time that he would develop brain damage and lose parts of his face, legs and hands.
His condition deteriorated so quickly that the family was flown to Women’s and Children’s Hospital in Adelaide for treatment, where Ryan remained for 62 days.
Last Friday he had surgery to amputate both his legs below the knee and next week he will have another surgery to remove all his fingertips and possibly some fingers.
His mother told Daily Mail Australia of her horror when she saw what appeared to be a simple virus develop into a potentially deadly condition.
Brave little Ryan Lines (pictured) contracted the potentially deadly strep infection
Mother Jessica (left, with husband Sam and their children Ryan, 1, and Rory, 3) noticed he had a runny nose, had a fever, and was limp and lethargic. She and husband Sam rushed him to the hospital, where he went into cardiac arrest for 10 minutes
“I noticed that Ryan had a runny nose, had a fever and was very limp and lethargic. That’s why I took him to the hospital,’ Mrs. Ryan said.
“After he went into cardiac arrest, we were told that we could look at the worst case, where Ryan would have suffered brain damage, lost parts of his face and lost his entire legs and hands – luckily that is not the case. ‘
Ryan’s ordeal comes amid growing concern over a rise in potentially deadly Strep A infections sweeping the country.
The number of cases in Western Australia has doubled in the past three months in the state’s first major increase in infection in two decades.
Queensland, NSW and Victoria authorities have also all reported recent spikes in Strep A cases in children.
According to data from the Department of Health’s National Communicable Disease Surveillance Dashboard, there were 1163 cases of Strep A in Australia in 2022.
People who are infected spread the bacteria by coughing, sneezing or talking, creating respiratory droplets that contain the bacteria.
Ryan’s parents expected the worst, but luckily the doctors managed to resuscitate him.
But his limbs have suffered and turned black due to inefficient blood flow
Also known as group A Streptococcus, the bacterial infection is found in the throat and skin but can lead to other invasive infections.
It is the same infection that led to the death of Perth girl Aishwarya Aswath in 2021 and killed at least two other children in Victoria last year.
What makes the beetle so deadly is how the germs create a toxin that can get into the skin or blood and cause irreversible damage.
Those who go into septic shock, as in the case of little Ryan, can develop tiny blood clots, which prevent blood from flowing to the hands, fingers, toes, and feet. Once this happens, the tissue begins to turn black and die, requiring amputation.
Last Friday he had surgery to amputate both his legs below the knee and next week he will have surgery to remove all his fingertips and possibly some fingers (post surgery photo)
“Our little boy is such a miracle, but the reality is that Ryan was very, very sick,” said Jess
“When you go into severe septic shock, so many things happen to your body that I didn’t know could happen,” said Ms Lines.
‘[Ryan] suffered a collapsed lung and also had to go on dialysis a few times to help his kidneys, many doctors are amazed at how good his heart is.’
Before the surgery, his parents “couldn’t even comprehend” that Ryan’s “perfect little feet” had to be amputated.
“The doctors aren’t sure if they will leave the fingers as they are or perform surgery to help regenerate new cells and skin by sewing Ryan’s fingers into his abdomen/groin for a few weeks – hopefully this will be able to give him more length on his fingers,’ said Mrs Lines.
“Our little boy is such a miracle, but the reality is that Ryan was very, very sick.
A GoFundMe page has been created to help the family while they are 300 miles from home. After just four days, a whopping $101,000 has been donated
What Are the Symptoms of Group A Streptococcal (Strep A) Infection?
Group A, also known by its abbreviation GAS, is a type of bacteria commonly found in the throat and on the skin. Group A strep infections often cause a sore throat, also known as strep throat.
In rare cases, the bacteria can also cause a serious, life-threatening infection known as invasive group A streptococcal disease (iGAS).
Symptoms of strep throat may include sore throat and tonsils, pain when swallowing, fever, muscle aches, and fatigue.
Symptoms of scarlet fever include a very red, sore throat, swollen glands, and fever. About 12 to 48 hours after infection, red spots may appear on the skin, usually on the face, neck, armpits, or groin. Red bumps may also form on the tongue, known as a “strawberry tongue.”
Impetigo causes sores on the skin that tend to blister. These blisters may burst, leaving a moist area with a yellow-brown crust around the edge.
With cellulite, an area of skin becomes red and inflamed, painful and swollen, while the skin often feels tighter and warmer than the surrounding skin.
Necrotizing fasciitis is a serious skin infection that can cause deep, painful skin ulcers, as well as fever, diarrhea or vomiting, septic shock, and organ failure.
Source: health direct
“We’re not sure what Ryan’s future holds, but we know we’ll do our very best to give him the best life possible.
“Everyone is so surprised that he survived, and the outcome is more positive than we thought.”
Since the family currently lives 300 miles from home and is unsure of how to pay medical bills, a GoFundMe page has been created on behalf of Mr. and Mrs. Lines.
After just four days, a whopping $101,000 has been donated to support the family.
Ms. Ryan keeps their supporters updated by sharing videos and photos on her Instagram page.
Parents have been urged to be vigilant and seek immediate medical attention if Strep A symptoms appear.
They include sore throat, fever or chills, dizziness, shortness of breath, headache, nausea, skin infection and abdominal pain.
Jess and Sam Lines also have a three-year-old son, Rory (left)
Strep A kills more than 600,000 people worldwide each year, according to director Jonathan Carapetis of the Telethon Kids Institute. School-age children, the elderly and pregnant women are among the most vulnerable (photo: Ryan at 11 months old)
Strep A kills more than 600,000 people worldwide each year, according to the executive director of the Telethon Kids Institute, Jonathan Carapetis, to The West Australian.
He warned that the infection could kill within hours.
“I would describe it as the nastiest bug you’ve probably never heard of… it’s the kind of bug that can kill you in hours,” Professor Carapetis said.
“If a child gets sick very quickly, it’s a potential emergency and you don’t wait until tomorrow to go to the GP, you take them straight to the emergency department. Children can literally go to bed and never wake up again.’
School-age children, the elderly and pregnant women are among the most vulnerable.