Marine killed by rare superbug
Create Post
Results 1 to 6 of 6
  1. #1

    Cool Marine killed by rare superbug

    Marine killed by rare superbug

    Doctors are being warned to be on the alert for a rare and extremely lethal ‘superbug’, following the death of a Royal Marines recruit from the infection.
    Eighteen-year-old Richard Campbell-Smith contracted the rare Panton Valentine Leukocidin (PVL), which has been linked to MRSA, last October. It was reported that he had scratched his legs on bushes during training at the Commando Training Centre in Lympstone in Devon on October 31. He was taken to the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital when his condition worsened and he died on November 2.
    A post-mortem examination found that that Mr Campbell-Smith, who was described as “superfit”, had suffered from cardiac and respiratory failure and traces of PVL were also discovered.
    PVL, which produces a toxin that destroys white blood cells, is extremely virulent. Only a quarter of cases where the infection spreads to the chest will survive. It can be difficult to detect and spreads quickly – one bug can multiply into 17 million within 24 hours.
    PVL was believed to have been eradicated in the 1950s. However, microbiologist Dr Marina Morgan, who gave evidence at an inquest into Mr Campbell-Smith’s death, said that she had seen two cases in the last nine weeks, having previously seen no such cases in the last fifteen years.
    A verdict of accidental death was recorded in Mr Campbell-Smith’s case. However, the coroner, Dr Elizabeth Earlan, said that she would make a recommendation to the Chief Medical Officer to provide updated information on the symptoms of PVL infection for all doctors.
    A spokesperson for the Health Protection Agency (HPA) said that PVL infection was still “extremely rare” in the UK. However, the HPA advised doctors who suspected cases of PVL infection to send patient samples to them for testing.


  2. #2
    Marine death sparks fears of incurable new superbug
    (Filed: 26/05/2005)

    Fears that a new superbug is taking hold in Britain emerged yesterday after a Royal Marines recruit was found to have died suddenly from an infection with no known cure.

    Richard Campbell-Smith, 18, died three days after the lethal toxin, which is linked to MRSA, entered his body through a scratch in his leg.

    Panton-Valentine Leukocidin (PVL) is so virulent that only a quarter of people in whom the infection spreads to the chest survive.

    The coroner investigating Mr Campbell-Smith's death was so worried about an outbreak that she is writing to the chief medical officer.

    An expert told the Exeter inquest that she had seen two examples in nine weeks and wanted to alert the public and doctors to the dangers of the disease, which has been recorded in America, France and Australia.

    Dr Marina Morgan, a microbiologist, said: "It is the worst bug I have seen and people really need to know about it. It is untreatable."

    Mr Campbell-Smith was 28 weeks into his 32-week induction at the Commando Training Centre, at Lympstone, Devon, when he died.

    He and other recruits had spent the week in rigorous exercise and he scratched his legs while running on Oct 31 last year. He was admitted to the centre's medical unit that day after complaining of feeling unwell and cold.

    Three days later he was found collapsed on the floor beside his bed in the early hours. He was taken to the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital where he died shortly afterwards.

    A post-mortem examination showed heart and respiratory failure but traces of PVL were later found in his body.

    The inquest heard that he had contracted an ordinary bacterium, staphylococcus, that would usually produce only a little pus in a cut. But the bug developed into PVL.

    PVL is lethal because it kills off white blood cells, leaving the victim unable to fight the infection.

    Dr Morgan said it was thought the disease had been eradicated in the 1950s but it could be coming back as antibiotics lost their effectiveness because of overuse.

    She said it usually attacked people under 40 and often occurred alongside MRSA.

    "It multiplies very quickly: one bug will multiply into 17 million within 24 hours.

    "Signs include pneumonia, coughing up blood and very high temperatures but not everyone will look for it. Testing is very complicated because samples have to be sent to London."

    Dr Elizabeth Earlan, the coroner, said: "I am going to make a recommendation to the chief medical officer that he disseminate information to all doctors, updating them on likely symptoms."

    The Department of Health said it was aware of cases of PVL and the Health Protection Agency was monitoring the situation.

    Surgeon Lt-Cdr Alistair Allsop, based at Lympstone, said that everybody had been shocked by the soldier's death.

    "He was a nice, likeable recruit," he said.

    Verdict: accidental death.


  3. #3


    ref the super bug that you mention here.
    The area where the NODS (recruits) do training was used for testing different types off chemicals in the 50's. and since then any nod who is at lympstone is always told about "woodbury rash" because of all the gorse on the moor the chemicals can enter through the cuts and scrapes from being beasted during training. when i was a nod we always had to have a detol bath to stop the infection. my personal opinion is that poss woodbury rash has been put to the back of people's mind as medicine now is meant to cure everything. but as we all know no one has told this to the superbug. hopefully now at ctc they will go back to getting all the nods to have a detol bath when they come back in from the field. and they can smell like a hospital when they go ashore just like i did in training.

    harry mac

  4. #4
    Marine Free Member oldanglico's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Devon,England and in the winter my little family hideaway in Spain
    Never heard of a "dettol" bath, must have been before my time!

  5. #5
    Guest Free Member
    Our condolences to you and your Brother and his family. We've discussed in the Chat Room that "fair" is often someone's cruel joke on the rest of us.

  6. #6
    Having done my seniors in the late 90s (1990's!) we did have savlon baths after the common.

Thread Information

Users Browsing this Thread

There are currently 1 users browsing this thread. (0 members and 1 guests)

Posting Permissions

  • You may not Create Posts
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts