19-year-old Lewis Hilton died on 28 January at Huddersfield Royal Infirmary, after suffering from ‘flu-like’ symptoms.
This news comes after two cases of meningitis were confirmed at Honley High School in Huddersfield, earlier this week.
Lewis had been working alongside his dad as a joiner when he started to feel ill and was sent home. He had a headache and took some tablets during the night, but by the morning it had become significantly worse.
Lewis’ mum Tracy called 111, and recognised that the operator was asking about meningitis. She said: “I knew they were talking me through meningitis symptoms.”
“There was no rash, he was OK with light. The only thing on the list was he couldn’t put his chin to his chest. Then we took him straight to A&E and by the time we got there his headache was really bad.”
Lewis was treated for viral and bacterial meningitis, before being transferred to intensive care. By 11.00pm Lewis was unable to breathe on his own and was put on a ventilator. Tragically he passed away soon after. Tracy said, “The staff at Halifax A&E and Huddersfield ICU were amazing and did absolutely everything they could for Lewis and for us, we can’t thank them enough.”
The heartbroken parents now want to raise awareness of how "quick and devastating" meningitis can be. Speaking to the Halifax Courier, Tracy said, “Nobody should go through this, and if we can help one person avoid it then we want to do that. It mostly affects babies and toddlers, but the next highest at-risk group is teenagers, and then the over 55s.”
The “kind, loving and caring” youngster was a keen rugby player, representing Old Rishworthians from the age of six. Tracy and dad Morley have said they felt “absolutely overwhelmed” by the response to Lewis’ death.
“The rugby club and Lewis’ friends have been absolutely fantastic,” Tracy said. “It’s really helped knowing how much people cared about him. We had no idea how many lives he’d touched. we’re so proud of him.”
Dr Tom Nutt, CEO of Meningitis Now, said, “Despite this being the third confirmed case in the Huddersfield area, we want to emphasise that meningitis is a rare disease.”
“People in the local area should remain vigilant and protect themselves and their loved ones by learning the signs and symptoms of meningitis, and seeking medical attention as quickly as possible if meningitis is suspected.”