Matlock man suffered 2 year infection after ant bite

| May 19, 2017 | 0 Comments

A pensioner has battled a severe illness for two years after being bitten by an ant.
Geoff Stevens, 74, was helping to set up a Christmas fair in Matlock, Derbyshire, in 2014 when he accidentally trod on an ant hill.
At least one ant climbed up his trousers and bit him on the leg and foot.
Initially Mr Stevens simply suffered a swollen leg and was prescribed antibiotics, which seemed to cure the problem.
Yet, after suffering flare-ups of extreme swelling and high temperatures, which lasted two years, he was diagnosed with a life-threatening skin and tissue infection, known as cellulitis. 

Geoff Stevens ( left), 74, was left with a life-threatening illness that caused extreme swelling (right) and dangerously high temperature after being bitten by an ant two years ago

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WHAT IS CELLULITIS?  Cellulitis is an infection of the deep layers of skin and the tissue underneath.
Research estimates cellulitis affects 16 in every 1,000 people in the UK and just one in every 5,000 in the US.
Cellulitis is usually caused by an infection from bacteria that live harmlessly on the skin and can get into the body after a cut, scrape or bruise, as well as an animal or insect bite. 
The infection develops suddenly and can spread through the body quickly. 
It can be life-threatening unless treated immediately with antibiotics.
Symptoms include red, hot and swollen skin, as well as high temperatures, shaking, nausea and dizziness. 
Source: NHS Choices 
In November 2014 Mr Stevens was helping to set up a Victorian Christmas market in Hall Leys Park in Matlock.
While working in the long grass, he accidentally trod on an ant hill.
Mr Stevens said: ‘We were enlarging some of the marquees and I must have put my foot in an ants nest.
‘At the time I carried on with what I was doing and carried on throughout the weekend.
‘My leg kept itching and I thought there was something wrong but it wasn’t until the Sunday night when my leg was really swelling and I went to see the doctor the following morning.’
His wife Jacquie, 70, added: ‘He felt something on his leg, and they had gone up inside his trousers.
‘I had been bitten by ants in France two years before and I thought I recognised it.
‘I got him some antihistamines but his leg was still red, so we went to the doctor.’
The doctor sent Mr Stevens, a former mayor who is still involved in politics, to Chesterfield Royal Hospital, where he was treated with antibiotics for three days before being discharged.

Former mayor Mr Stevens was later diagnosed with the life-threatening illness cellulitis

ARE ANTS IN THE UK DANGEROUS? 
Certain species of ant found in the UK occasionally bite, particularly in warm weather or when they feel threatened.
Although you may feel a ‘nip’, the bites are typically harmless and may just leave a pale pink mark.
Yet, puncturing the skin can allow potentially dangerous bacteria to enter the bloodstream, resulting in infection. 
Although common UK ant species are usually harmless, recent research suggests more dangerous types of the insect from other parts of the world are migrating over.
Swarms of Argentine ants from South America have been spotted in British gardens in recent years.
The vicious species bites, stings and spreads salmonella, according to pest control register Basis Prompt.
Source: NHS Choices

Several days later the swelling had gone down and he felt back to normal.
Yet in May 2015 his symptoms returned much more severely, causing his leg to swell up to nearly twice its normal size and his foot to become too large for his shoes.
He also suffered a 42-degree Celsius (108 degree Fahrenheit) temperature, resulting in Mr Stevens being rushed to back to Chesterfield Hospital.
He said: ‘It was just terrible. The leg was red and swollen and the foot was very, very large.
‘There was no prospect of getting a shoe on. 
‘For weeks I felt dreadful but it wasn’t the normal sort of illness that perhaps people would get.
‘It was very very uncomfortable and of course you run a very high temperature.
‘That was the thing they were very concerned about.’
Doctors conducted numerous tests and finally discovered that he was still suffering from the effects of the bite. 

Doctors believe Mr Stevens lengthy struggle with cellulitis was caused by poison from the ant bite laying dormant underneath his skin. Pictured left is Mr Stephen’s swelled-up foot

THE UK’S MOST DANGEROUS ANIMALS Animals kill around 25 people a year in the UK, the top five killer animals include:
1. Horses: 10 deaths per year
2. Cows: five deaths per year
3. Domestic dogs: four deaths per year
4. Bees & Wasps: three deaths per year
5. Deer – one death per year
Source: Office for National Statistics

He said: ‘After the leg had swollen up I had cellulitis, and the skin had ulcerations. It was rather horrible.
‘It just goes to show you what a pain ants can be.’ 
His wife said: ‘He had to have surgery.
‘They did a series of blood tests that revealed a high level of formic acid, meaning he had a lot of poison in his bloodstream.
‘They were worried it might damage his organs.’ 
Doctors believe that some of the poison from the bite had possibly laid dormant underneath his skin.
They called a hospital in Manchester for an analysis of his blood and to find out how to treat his condition.
Mr Stevens said: ‘It was hanging around for two years until it cleared completely.

Mr Steven has since been given the all clear. Pictured is Mr Stevens (left) at an event in 2010

‘Because I was recovering during the 2015 elections, I could not go out and canvas and it cost me my seat.
‘For someone who has been involved in local politics for a long time, that was a real blow.
‘But that’s the way things are, and I’m glad to have been given the all clear.
He said: ‘People gave me strange looks when I explained the story to them.
‘It wasn’t something you could explain to people very easily.’ 

Mr Stevens has recently been given the all clear.



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