When toddler Henry Walter came home from preschool with a stomach bug, his parents didn’t expect that in less than 24 hours they would lose their son.
According to a Mirror article, the toddler had contracted a rare bacterial infection called Haemophilus Influenzae Type F that quickly morphed into meningitis.
“Henry went to bed at 7.30pm before complaining of a stomach ache,” the report said. “His mum Vicky, 36, gave him Calpol but an hour later, he vomited.”
Then the toddler developed a high temperature, but still had no visible rash. When his dad arrived home from work, he nursed his son to sleep thinking the bug would pass.
“At 5am I found I couldn’t wake him, he was breathing funny, we rang the ambulance and a responder came within 90 seconds,” he said.
Photo credit: SWNS / Mirror
They rushed the boy to Leeds General Infirmary, West Yorks, where the the doctors told the family Henry had the rare bug Haemophilus Influenzae Type F, which had turned into meningitis, a life-threatening inflammation of the membranes that surround and protect the brain and spinal cord.
“Within about 20 minutes of us arriving they told us he wasn’t going to make it,” Mark recalled. “It was that quick.”
They were then told that Henry had no brain stem activity and had to take the heartbreaking decision to turn his life support machine off.
His parents Mark and Vicky are still in shock over the death of their child, whom they described “bright” and “fun-loving” and for whom they held a dinosaur-themed funeral.
Now they are warning parents to “err on the side of caution” and not to wait for a rash—a tell-tale sign of meningitis.
“Just because you’ve had the jab doesn’t mean you can’t catch another strain,” Mark said. “For us we thought like everybody else—that something like this couldn’t happen to our family.”
What is Haemophilus Influenzae Type F
It is a rare bacterial infection which has no known cure. “The Type F strain is not covered by the much-debated MenB vaccine or the established Hib jab, which protects against Haemophilus Influenzae Type B,” said the Mirror report.
Symptoms include fever, headache, nausea, cold hands and feet, drowsiness and sometimes but not always blotchy skin.
READ: Doctors amputated two limbs to save her life but she still succumbed to the deadly illness
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