- Lilliana Schalk, a 13-year-old cheerleader, died suddenly in February during a competition.
- A new coroner’s report found that Lilliana died from a strep infection.
- Group A Streptococcus can cause many different infections that range from minor illnesses, like strep throat, to very serious, very deadly diseases like necrotizing fasciitis.
A Kentucky middle school student died suddenly from a strep infection, according to a coroner’s report on Friday.
Lilliana Schalk, a 13-year-old student from Highlands Middle School in Northern Kentucky, died following a cheerleading competition in February, according to WLWT5.
Lilliana reportedly fell ill during the competition—her father took her to the emergency room after she she complained of pain in her pelvis and said her hand went numb, according to FOX19. There, her condition quickly deteriorated.
The newly-released coroner’s report confirmed Lilliana died of a disseminated bacterial infection—or one that migrates to other places in the body—as a result of Group A beta-hemolytic Streptococcus.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, group A Streptococcus can cause many different infections that range from minor illnesses, like strep throat, to very serious, very deadly diseases like necrotizing fasciitis or rheumatic fever.
It’s unclear what exactly Lilliana was suffering from, but according to her father, she wasn’t showing any warning signs, other than a hamstring injury and a “little cold,” per WLWT5.
“Apparently, an underlying Strep infection overwhelmed her immune system with little or no warning, and catastrophic results,” the Schalk family said in a statement, reported by WLWT5. “We knew this report was coming and honestly have mixed feelings about it. On the one hand it changes nothing for us. But, on the other hand, we wouldn’t wish this nightmare on anyone and maybe this report might help prevent a similar outcome for someone else. Lilliana would surely help if she could, and this is just an extension of that spirit.”
Highlands Middle School held a vigil for Lilliana following her death, and two cheerleading scholarships have also been set up in her name at both Highlands High School and Premier Athletics, Lilliana’s private cheerleading team.
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