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Strep A warning after it left girl, 6, unable to walk and in agony

What is Strep A infection?

A mum whose six-year-old daughter was left unable to walk, after being struck down by Strep A has urged other parents to be vigilant for signs of the infection. The bacteria – officially known as Group A streptococcus – generally causes mild symptoms such as a sore throat, but can also cause much more serious ones and has been responsible for the deaths of several young children in recent weeks.

Kadie Dolphin, 37, first spotted symptoms of the infection in little Nancie Rae Dolphin on November 7. Within hours she was admitted to hospital, unable to walk and with severe swelling and a nasty rash.

Fortunately, Nancie Rae Dolphin, six, made a full recovery and Kadie says she is back to her normal bubbly self – but the mum-of-five nevertheless shared the harrowing experience to help other parents recognize the warning signs.

Kadie said: “The doctors said that it being caught early was the reason she got well so quickly. I was absolutely petrified to be honest – at the point where she started to turn really bad, we didn’t know what it was and it felt like it took forever to find out what was wrong.

“The doctor was saying that the swelling was coming up before her eyes, Nancie Rae was swelling right before us, the doctor said we really are concerned and it was then that I thought ‘oh God’. The worrying thing is that I didn’t know what was going on – I was looking at her thinking ‘am I going to walk out without my daughter’.”

Nancie Rae Dolphin was left unable to walk at first (Image: SWNS)

Nancie Rae Dolphin, pictured with mum Kadie, has made a full recovery, thankfully (Image: SWNS)

Kadie, from Warrington in Cheshire, who works as a healthcare assistant, first noticed that something was wrong with Nancie Rae on the evening of November 7, when the youngster came downstairs at 6pm complaining of an itchy belly.

When Kadie looked, she noticed there was a small mark resembling a mosquito bite on her tummy and her knee.

She gave her daughter an anti-histamine and thought nothing more of it, until Nancie Rae came downstairs the following morning at 6am with a high temperature and a rash where the ‘bites’ had been.

Kadie explained: “On November 7, my daughter finished school happy and healthy – she’s a livewire anyway, she’s crazy. About 6pm she came downstairs and said ‘mummy my belly is itching’, it looked like she had a little bite. Because she’d been out playing, I assumed she had been bit by a mosquito and had a reaction.

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Nancie Rae Dolphin pictured in hospital (Image: SWNS)

Nancie Rae Dolphin swiftly developed a worrying rash (Image: SWNS)

“I gave her an antihistamine but the next morning the rash was all over her belly – it was a weird, flat rash and she was very hot to touch.” Kadie was told Nancie would not be able to see a GP until 6pm – and by 9.30am, the youngster’s hand had begun to swell up.

Deciding not to wait, Kadie took her daughter to Halton Urgent Care center and within five minutes of arriving both were placed in a room and seen by a doctor. While they initially believed it to be an allergic reaction, as Nancie Rae continued to swell in her hands, face and lymph nodes, they opted to move her to Warrington Hospital.

On arrival, she was given Amoxicillin antibiotics and blood samples and a throat swab were taken to be tested – at which point she was diagnosed with Strep A.

Kadie said: “She was swelling up before our eyes – a couple more fingers were swollen up, her lymph nodes were swollen, there were lumps in her throat and her legs were hurting.

Nancie Rae Dolphin’s symptoms first appeared on November 7 (Image: SWNS)

“We went to Warrington Hospital and they started her on Amoxicillin, they had to take 11 vials of blood from her. She had lost the ability to walk, every joint was swollen up, she was completely red and still had a high temperature – that was when they took a throat swab for Strep A.

“Throughout the night the medicine wouldn’t kick in and they kept coming back saying she’s not getting better – she was kind of awake but she was very floppy and couldn’t hold herself up. Amoxicillin is useless to Strep A, so they changed from steroids to penicillin.”

Nancie Rae was unable to walk or talk, and Kadie says she was ‘screaming’ as she was in so much pain.

Doctors continued to monitor her condition, as Kadie and her daughter remained in the hospital for two days.

Nancy Rae Dolphin with her mum and sister (Image: SWNS)

Thankfully, after 48 hours, her condition began to improve as the swelling reduced and she was sent home with antibiotics.

While she was left with some lasting effects, including damage to her kidneys and a secondary infection, she recovered at home and Kadie says she is back to her ‘normal crazy mental self’.

Kadie said: “The care given has been fantastic, I can’t fault the NHS whatsoever – they were absolutely amazing and really on the ball.

“For a six-year-old she’s quite tiny anyway and this infection has ravished her body but she’s back to her normal crazy mental self.

“She’s wild doesn’t give us a minute’s peace, once she’s opened her eyes she won’t shut up.

“All we keep hearing about is the children passing but that’s not all it is, she’s home and fine now, as awful as it was, we need to build immunity.”

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