In just a few hours, a Halifax woman went from shovelling snow with her husband to fighting for her life in hospital.
Colleen Hilton initially thought she had the flu. Doctors realized her rapidly deteriorating health was due to something far more serious, necrotizing fasciitis, also known as flesh-eating disease.
“She went from being a perfectly healthy person to being hooked up to 14 IV bottles, and they are putting in a breathing tube. It just went that quick, in the space of hours,” Colleen’s husband Larry Hilton told CTV Atlantic on Friday. “The night before . . . she was perfectly fine.”
Colleen was moved from Dartmouth General Hospital to the Queen Elizabeth II Health Sciences Centre in Halifax, and placed in an induced coma. Larry said doctors told him a Group A streptococcal infection was to blame.
According to the Public Health Agency of Canada, streptococcus A is a common bacterium usually transmitted through direct contact with or inhalation of discharges or droplets from an infected person’s nose or mouth.
The vast majority of strep A infections present as non-life-threatening conditions, such as strep throat or impetigo, a skin condition.
In rare cases, the bacteria can get into parts of the body that it doesn’t normally, such as the bloodstream. These “invasive” strep A infections can be life-threatening.
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