A HORRIFIED mum shared how her little girl was left fighting for her life after her chicken pox progressed to a flesh-eating bug.
The mum was able to get the tot help after spotting telltale signs that her daughter's itchy rash had suddenly turned serious.
Reign Passey, now five, spent three weeks in hospital and had to undergo a lifesaving four-hour operation to remove the flesh-eating bacteria, in July 2022.
She has been left with a large scar on her right side – which she tells people she got from "winning a fight against a crocodile".
Mum Leanne Passey, 32, says Reign developed Group A Streptococcus – known as strep A – which turned her chickenpox into a flesh-eating infection.
NHS advisers have said all children in the UK should be given a chickenpox vaccine at 12 and 18 months of age.
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The advice, issued by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI), has also recommended a temporary catch-up programme for older children.
Leanne from Dudley, West Mids., said: "If the vaccine will prevent any child from getting what Reign got then I support it 1000 per cent.
"I wouldn't want any mother to go through it."
"It's horrendous – you never expect it to happen to you until it does."
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Reign came down with chickenpox on July 4 2022 and initially appeared fine, Leanne says.
But three days later the mum noticed she had a temperature and was low on energy – symptoms of strep A, an infection which children who have had chickenpox recently are more likely to develop.
Leanne spotted a red ring around one of the sores on Reign's side and decided to take her daughter to a doctor, who recommended she visit A&E immediately.
Leanne decided to take Reign to Birmingham Children's Hospital.
Leanne said: "I'd gone from a child with chickenpox to her needing to go in for major op – I was screaming and I thought there's a chance she was going to die."
Once they arrived, Reign was taken to the operating theatre immediately.
Leanne had brief opportunity to give her daughter a kiss and a cuddle before she was sent into theatre for four hours where the surgeon made a large cut into her side to remove some of the infected flesh.
Reign was then taken to intensive care, put in an induced coma to manage the pain and given breathing support.
Leanne said: "They had to leave her wound open because of how fast it spreads.
Leanne says doctors then started Reign on "ridiculous amounts of antibiotics" and she recovered.
Reign is now "fully healed" and "doing very well."
"She's healed pretty much, she's obviously got some long terms effects, which we will keep having to go back to the doctors for," Leanne said.
"We're not sure how things will go in the future, and she will have to have scar treatment at some point.
"We're not there yet, but she is much better.
"Reign is here and that's all that matters.
"If this vaccine would potentially save lives then I fully support it."
The chickenpox vaccine still needs to be given final approval by the Department of Health and Social Care – but the JCVI said it could help reduce “tragic, more serious cases” of the common illness.
Most parents consider chickenpox to be a common and mild illness for children – 90 per cent of them will have had it by the time they're 15.
But some can get serious complications like brain inflammation, pneumonia or bacterial skin infections, resulting in hospitalisation and even death.
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The US, Japan, Australia, Canada already include chickenpox vaccine in their routine childhood vaccination programmes, so the UK would be following in their footsteps.
Sun Health recently revealed nine subtle signs of chickenpox that don't include a rash.
What are the symptoms of step A?
Most strep A infections are mild and easily treated, but some are more serious.
Common symptoms of strep A include:
- flu-like symptoms, such as a high temperature, swollen glands or an aching body
- sore throat (strep throat or tonsillitis)
- a rash that feels rough, like sandpaper (scarlet fever)
- scabs and sores (impetigo)
- pain and swelling (cellulitis)
- severe muscle aches
- nausea and vomiting
Rarely, the infection can progress to invasive group A strep (iGAS)and cause serious problems.
The NHS says you should get your little one an urgent GP appointment if:
- they're unwell and getting worse
- they're feeding or eating much less than normal
- they have fewer wet nappies than usual or is peeing less than usual, or shows other signs of dehydration
- your baby is under three months and has a temperature of 38C, or is three to six months and has a temperature of 39C or higher
- your child is very tired or irritable
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