LIFESTYLE

Flesh-Eating Bacteria Leaves Father Alex Lewis Without Limbs - What Is Streptococcus A?

18/03/2014 12:15 GMT | Updated 18/03/2014 12:59 GMT

Warning: Graphic Image Below

A 34-year-old man has been left without limbs after flesh-eating bacteria claimed two legs, one arm and part of his face.

Father-of-one Alex Lewis thought he was suffering from a cold, but his health soon deteriorated after contracting blood infection Group A streptococcus.

The infection developed into septicaemia and toxic shock syndrome causing parts of his body to turn black. Doctors were forced to amputate his limbs and use muscle from his back to rebuild his right arm.

alex lewis

Alex Lewis

According to the NHS, streptococcus A bacteria can only pose a potentially serious threat to health if it penetrates deep inside tissues and organs - this triggers an 'invasive infection' such as pneumonia, sepsis or meningitis.

While 'minor' streptococcus infections are common, the bacteria causes sore throats - invasive infections are much rarer, affecting 1 in 33,000 people per year in England.

"In a strange way it is the most amazing thing I have ever lived through," Alex Lewis told The Southern Daily Echo.

"I think nothing but good will come from it. I think you cope because you have to. If you don't, chances are you will probably die."

The amazingly plucky gent hopes to walk again using 'blade runner' prosthetics.

He said: "To be able to have the chance to walk the dog with my son again in the countryside, something as simple as that, just like I used to. that's amazing.

"I think you realise how precious life is. It sounds corny but it's so true."