The family of Theo Emm, aged three, have said they had only just welcomed baby brother Oliver into the world days before the tragedy A family of a three-year-old boy have told how he wanted to watch cartoons before suddenly collapsing and dying of Strep A without having shown symptoms.
Theo Emm died at his home after falling seriously ill with the “silent killer”, on February 18, having shown hardly any signs of illness. He had been a “bit lethargic” the night before but was feeling better by the time he went to bed.
The family from Westbury, Wiltshire, had only just welcomed Theo’s baby brother Oliver into the world days beforehand when the tragedy struck. Parents Billy and Jody Emm are still too distraught to speak, but want to raise awareness of the illness, said Billy’s brother, Chris Emm.
“I’ve spoken to my brother and Jody and they said they didn’t feel they were able to talk about this as it’s still too raw for them,” he said. “Usually they would be okay about talking, but they just didn’t feel they could. They did say to me that they wanted more than anything to raise awareness and not for people to think it is a sob story to take pity on them.
“This kind of condition in children is often called a ‘silent killer’ and it is very rare for children to die from it. In Theo’s case, there were no symptoms. He just collapsed on the Saturday morning and died.” Billy and Jody decided to phone 111 and while they were on the phone Theo just collapsed with a cardiac arrest.”
A Wiltshire Air Ambulance emergency response team arrived at the family’s home within minutes of the call. Paramedics carried out CPR on Theo for about half an hour but they were unable to revive him. Theo’s death came just a week after his brother Oliver was born and the family now treasure a photograph of the pair with Oliver in his big brother’s arms.
Billy, 29, and Jody, 31, are looking into having counselling sessions to try to come to terms with Theo’s sudden death. Strep A is usually accompanied by flu-like symptoms consisting of a high temperature, swollen glands, an aching body or a sore throat known as ‘strep throat’. It can sometimes be accompanied by a rash that feels rough, like sandpaper (scarlet fever) scabs and sores (impetigo).