Conor was a healthy 11 month-old baby when he lost his life to a Strep A infection during Chicken Pox in 2000. It took just 48 hours to kill him.
Conor's Fund was created to try and prevent such tragedies by raising awareness of serious Strep A infections - their causes, symptoms and possible outcomes - whilst raising funds to support research into their prevention, diagnosis and cure.
Strep A is a bacteria, commonly found in our throats or on our skin.
It can cause a range of illness, from sore throats to Scarlet Fever.
Strep A is an opportunistic bug that tends to attack the body when it is busy fighting another disease.
In rare cases it can develop into more serious 'Invasive' Strep A infections, which can be life threatening.
Invasive Strep A infections share a number of symptoms with Meningitis, but are usually more deadly.
Invasive Strep A infections can lead to Necrotising Fasciitis (the so called 'Flesh Eating' bug), Toxic Shock Syndrome and Septicaemia / Sepsis.
Children with Chicken Pox are particularly vulnerable to Strep A as Chicken Pox suppresses their immune systems and leaves them with open sores through which Strep A can enter.
That's why the US routinely vaccinate for Chicken Pox.
Official figures imply there are more than 2000 Invasive Strep A infections in the UK each year, with a 15-50% death rate depending on their exact nature.
However, the true number may be much higher as its prevelance is growing, mis-diagnosis is a common problem & its role in causing sepsis etc. often goes unrecorded
Invasive Strep A infections can be treated with antibiotics, if they are caught in time.
However, awareness levels need to be raised, both among the general public and front line medical staff, as was done for Meningitis.
There is also an urgent need for more research, in order to provide better methods of diagnosis, prevention and cure.
Depending on the nature and stage of the infection, symptoms MAY include:
Redness and pain / swelling at or near a wound site or skin lesion
A flat red rash over large areas of the body
Nausea / Vomiting
Pain in a joint or the abdomen
Shrill cry or low moan (in babies)
Sepsis may occur in advanced infections, adding the following symptoms:
Lethargy / Drowsiness or irritability / agitation
Cold extremities / pale / clammy
low urine output / thirst
If you have any doubts about someone's symptoms seek medical help urgently - rapid treatment is critical!
* Source: US Centre for Disease Control
All money raised is used to support UK research teams in their mission to better understand invasive Group A Strep infections, leading to better methods of prevention, diagnosis and cure.
Read about the work done to date on our Research News webpage.
NB No costs are taken from the fund - every penny donated goes straight to the research team.
NB The Conor Kerin Memorial Fund takes every care to ensure the information given is accurate, but it cannot guarantee this, it does not constitute advice and it should not be used as an alternative to seeking proper medical help from a professional healthcare provider.