A mum has called for more help to be given to a charity who helped support her after her son was left fighting for his life.
When Alexander Britton was born he was diagnosed with a rare form of meningitis, caused by a group B Strep infection. He was left fighting for his life, after he became grey, limp and lifeless.
Two decades later, Alex, who lives in Oundle with mum Helen, has recovered, and ran the Sheffield Marathon with sister Lisa at the weekend, raising £600 for Group B Strep Support (GBSS).
Group B Strep is the UK’s most common cause of life-threatening infection in newborn babies and meningitis in babies up to the age of 3 months. Carried by between 20-30 per cent of women, the group B Strep bacteria can pass from a pregnant woman to baby around birth with potentially devastating consequences for the newborn baby.
Helen, who said she thought Alex would die when he was rushed to hospital, said: “Twenty years ago there was very limited awareness of this infection it was not discussed at all throughout my pregnancy.
“It was only on diagnosis of Alex’s meningitis that group b strep infection was mentioned to be the reason why Alex contracted bacterial meningitis at one week old. Nowadays this has changed, they work hard to raise awareness and promote testing for this infection.
“This charity (GBSS) and Meningitis Research Foundation helped me understand the disease and the latter organisation helped me identify potential after affects from the meningitis.
“Alex for some years was monitored health wise as his immune system was impaired. He had physio and occupational therapy in early years and was lucky to come out of this unscathed.”
GBSS are currently campaigning for every pregnant woman in the UK to be given accurate information about group B Strep as a routine part of her antenatal care, coupled with a national screening programme offering testing at 35-37 weeks of pregnancy.
For more information visit www.gbss.org.uk