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‘Meningococcal hit my son like a wrecking ball’: Parents’ heartache over sick son

At just five months old baby Archie has already been in the fight of his life but his parents are still holding out hope he'll be home for his first Christmas.

At just five months old baby Archie has already been in the fight of his life.

Five days ago his parents, Josh Roberts and Katelyn Galea thought their son had an ear infection but when his lips turned grey and he showed signs of a rash they raced their baby to from the southwest of Brisbane, to Ipswich Hospital, according to Essential Baby.

The boy was diagnosed with the potentially life-threatening meningococcal disease and was rushed to Brisbane’s Lady Cilento Children’s Hospital where he was placed on life support.

Josh Roberts and Katelyn Galea with son Archie. Facebook/Josh Roberts

Meningococcal disease is an acute bacterial infection that can cause death within hours if not recognised and treated in time.

It’s a nightmare that no parent should ever have to go through and Archie’s parents have taken to social media to share their heartache.

“Meningococcal. You hit my son yesterday like a wrecking ball but he came straight back at you like a d11 bulldozer,” Mr Roberts wrote.

“Meningococcal. You have met your match Arch is going to beat you and he is going to come out on the other side with a big smile on his face.

“This is something you only read about in the paper or see in the news. You would never expect it to hit someone so healthy and so happy, a little boy who has so much going for him so much love and a little boy who has had such a big impact on the earth already and has only been here for five months.

“Any parents that had have had sick kids and experienced what Katelyn and I are going through at this time I feel for you. This is one of the hardest times I have ever had to deal with. I have never ever loved something, someone with such passion and love.

“It doesn’t matter if you are the toughest person on this planet walking into that hospital room and seeing you like this rips me apart. You are a strong little man Arch just keep on fighting. You will get through this.”

Thankfully, the little boy’s condition seems to be improving and Archie’s mum shared this touching video of the bub opening his eyes.

“My baby is waking up!!!!!!!!! Archie, mummy and daddy couldn’t be any more prouder. You are the true definition of a fighter. I love you,” Katelyn wrote.

Apparently the meningococcal bug has left Archie’s system and his parents are just hoping he can be home to celebrate his first Christmas.

“It’s his first Christmas, so it would be great to be home for Christmas,” Mr Roberts said.

“It’s a six-week recovery. They think it will be a full recovery but he may lose a couple of fingertips.”

A GoFundMe page has been set up by a family friend to help the young couple cope with the growing medical bills.

“Since Archie has been in hospital Katelyn & Josh have been by his side and not able to work, so we have created this go fund me to help them out,” said the page.

“If you could donate even $5 to this beautiful family I’m sure it would make all difference. Please keep Archie in your thoughts x”.

Meningococcal: The Facts

According to Meningococcal.org.au the “majority those infected will recover fully, but 10 per cent of victims will die, and around 20 per cent will have permanent disabilities – ranging from learning difficulties, sight and hearing problems, to liver and kidney failure, loss of fingers, toes and limbs and scarring caused by skin grafts.”

In New Zealand, there are five main strains of the disease.

What is meningococcal disease?

This is an infection with the meningococcal bacteria which can cause inflammation of the lining of the brain, which is called meningitis, or an infection in the blood, septicaemia and sometimes both.

Three main bacteria can cause meningitis: meningococcal, pneumococcal and Haemophilus influenza type b (Hib).

The meningococcal bacteria are spread through droplets from the nose or throat through sneezing or coughing.

Signs and symptoms

Parents have been made well aware of the red rash associated with meningococcal disease – it’s the one which doesn’t fade when pressed with a glass. Even though it’s an important symptom of the illness, it often means the illness is already well underway.

“It’s a good sign of meningococcal disease, but you’d also like to pick it up before you get that rash,” says Paediatrician Dr Jenny Royle.

Other signs to look out for include fever, irritability, extreme tiredness, vomiting, turning away from the light and drowsiness.

“In young babies it’s good to have a low index of suspicion with an unwell child with a fever,” says Dr Royle.

“Parental worry about children is often very helpful and accurate. If you’ve been to the doctor and sent home, and your baby’s getting worse, or not getting better, parents should act on their own sense of worry and get the child re-checked.”

Speak to your doctor about any concerns you may have.

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