A young cheerleader was at a competition when she started feeling ill, and just hours later, she was pronounced dead.
What caused the young girl’s sudden death?
Last Feb. 23, 13-year-old Lilliana Schalck was at an All-Star cheerleading competition when she suddenly fell ill. According to her father, Dan, who was with her at the competition, Lilliana began getting weak, and soon experienced hand numbness and hamstring pain.
As a result, Lilliana was rushed to the emergency room of Nationwide Children’s Hospital where doctors cared for her in the ICU, but she passed away just hours later. In fact, at 5:50 that day, they were still waiting for Lilliana to perform, but by 7:40, she was already pronounced dead.
Naturally, Lilliana’s family is still in shock over her sudden death, but they are also grateful for everyone who has been expressing their love and support, and those who continue to cherish Lilliana’s memory.
The coroner cultured her blood, meninges, spinal fluid, and lungs, and autopsy results show that Lilliana passed away due to an underlying strep infection caused by group A Streptococcus (GAS).
As it happens, Lilliana was previously diagnosed with strep, but according to an expert, it was not the likely cause of her illness. What likely happened is that she had reacquired strep, which got into her blood and caused sepsis.
Typically, GAS causes minor illnesses such as strep throat and superficial skin infections. However, it can also cause serious infections such as pneumonia, toxic shock syndrome, and necrotizing fasciitis or more commonly known as flesh-eating disease.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there are millions of non-invasive GAS cases each year, and about 11,000 to 13,000 invasive cases of GAS in the same period. Of those invasive cases, about 1,100 to 1,600 end in death.