These horrifying pictures show how a baby’s meningitis rash spread from a few “dots” on his back to cover his entire body in just 24 hours.
Little Ashley-Jay Greatorex, from Walsall, West Midlands, was rushed to hospital after being struck down by a high temperature and a rash.
His mum, Annabella Hanslow, was terrified when several small, red dots on his back started quickly spreading across his tiny body.
The rash, which was “not flat but not raised as such”, left doctors baffled as it was “different” to those often seen in meningitis cases.
But after a series of tests, Ashley was found to have meningitis and septicaemia.
Now, four days on, the 16-week-old remains “very, very poorly” at Walsall Manor Hospital, with his mum and dad, Kieran Greatorex, by his side.
Annabella, 26, has shared the pictures of her baby’s rash to raise awareness of meningitis and the symptoms that the disease can cause.
She told Mirror Online: “We are still really worried and not a day goes by without us thinking the worst. It’s a cruel illness and I wouldn’t wish it on any child.”
The mum, who has three other children, initially gave Ashley some Calpol after he fell ill with a high temperature on Monday.
She says the medication brought the youngster’s temperature down – and he was in the same condition the following day.
But on Wednesday, she noticed several red dots on her baby’s skin. She took him straight to the doctor’s after the morning school run.
Ashley was immediately transferred to hospital, where he remains on a drip.
Today, his family said he is “more alert” and aware than in previous days.
However, he is undergoing blood tests tonight to check his infection level.
“He’s slowly getting there it just takes time,” said Annabella, from Rushall.
In a Facebook post on Thursday, the mum-of-four described how her son’s rash was “different” to those typically seen in meningitis cases.
She shared photos of the little boy rash-covered skin to warn people that the condition “doesn’t always start like they say it does”.
“He started with high temp. Fine he was! Till I noticed a few spots,” she wrote.
“Then spread really quick! Not flat but not raised as such either. This is a different rash to the normal they come across they have never seen it spread so quick!
“They couldn’t work out the rash at all.. they were confused. The first pic with the little dots was from yesterday morning. The last is from this morning.
“Please if anyone worries about it. Go get checked asap [as soon as possible]!”
She added that her baby’s rash faded under pressure.
“The glass test failed for us! It still disappeared,” she said.
“I’m trying to be so strong for him but I just want to break into a million crumbles and take this nasty disease away,” she continued.
“The docs said be prepared for him to get worse.”
In a later post, Annabella wrote that Ashley’s rash had nearly disappeared.
But she said his small body had swelled up.
“Trust your instinct don’t let others tell you different,” she wrote.
Annabella’s sister, Beverley Summers, has set up a Facebook page to raise awareness of Ashley’s plight, called Support Baby Ashley .
Beverley wrote on the page: “Can we get lots of prayers to support my sister and her partner to get baby Ashley well again. He is fighting meningitis and septicaemia.
“Come on little man, get well soon.”
Meningitis affects thousands of people in the UK and Ireland every year.
Symptoms of meningitis and septicaemia include nausea, vomiting, fever, confusion, drowsiness, cold hands and feet, neck stiffness and a severe headache.
Another classic symptom is a blotchy rash. This typically appears as small, red pinpricks at first, before later developing into red or purple blotches.
For more information on meningitis, visit www.nhs.uk.