Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Canadian Couple Dies From Strep A Infection Just Hours Apart

Sisters Meta and Sammi Ross are raising awareness about an aggressive type of Strep A after their mother and step-father died from it earlier this year.

The sisters are warning the public about the dangers of invasive group A strep

The pair said health professionals did not recognize the symptoms of the disease until it was too late.

Strep A bacteria is typically found on the skin, including the throat, and can cause various diseases from cellulitis to rheumatic fever.

Invasive Group A streptococcal disease, on the other hand, occurs when the bacteria infects a normally sterile area, such as fat tissues or the lung.

Jeffrey and Ginny Killaim, from Woods Harbor, Nova Scotia, both died from the aggressive form of strep A on Feb. 25. They were both 59 years old, with the latter being just a few weeks shy of her 60th birthday.

ginny and jeffrey
Jeffrey developed the same symptoms as his wife after accompanying her to the hospital

Their daughters weren’t too worried at the beginning when their mother developed cold-like symptoms. According to Sammi, their mother had gone to the doctor on Tuesday, who told her she had influenza, so she went home to rest.

By Thursday, however, her symptoms had worsened significantly. Her skin had turned ‘grey’, and she was clammy and sweaty. She was immediately taken to the hospital, where she went into septic shock.

Her husband, Jeffrey, who went with her to the hospital, started to develop the same symptoms the following day. He was also admitted to the hospital. Doctors later informed Meta and Sammi that their parents both had strep A. They also gave the sisters precautionary antibiotics.

Despite medical treatments, however, Ginny and Jeffery eventually passed away over the weekend.

The sisters believe they may have survived if their mother’s family doctor had tested her for strep A instead of telling her to go home with an influenza diagnosis.

They also believe the hospital should have been more careful about protecting their step-father, who was on dialysis, once it was confirmed that their mother had an aggressive form of strep A.

Aggressive Strep A Cases Going Up

So far this year, 40 people have been diagnosed with group A strep in Nova Scotia, 10 of whom have passed away from the disease.

Last year, there were five group A strep-related deaths and 94 confirmed cases.

Since 2022, the cases of invasive group A Strep have gone up significantly. The numbers are highest among young children under the age of five and seniors above the age of 65.

Nova Scotia Health is currently working on educating healthcare providers on diagnosing group A strep. However, it can be challenging for doctors to distinguish between strep A and other common respiratory illnesses given the similar symptoms.

group a strep rash Symptoms of invasive group A strep include:

– Severe swelling, redness, and pain in the affected area
– High fever that persists despite medication
– Confusion
– Dizziness
– Nausea and vomiting
– Rash that spreads rapidly
– Severe pain in the arms, legs, back, or neck
– Changes in skin color and tone

Brooke Carter
Brooke Carter
Freelance writer who loves dogs and anything related to Japanese culture.


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