Each year in the UK one person in 33,000 develops serious invasive streptococcus A infection Wikipedia

When young father Alex Lewis developed a cold four months ago, no one could have foreseen the horror ahead. He went to bed feeling poorly, and awoke at 2am to find his skin turning purple, his eyes dilating and with blood in his urine.

The father-of-one was rushed to hospital but even when medics diagnosed the blood infection Group A streptococcus there seemed no cause for alarm as a healthy adult can usually "filter" the bacteria.

Each year in the UK one person in 33,000 will develop serious invasive strep A infection, but it can usually be treated with antibiotics.

Unfortunately in Alex's case the infection turned to septicaemia and toxic shock syndrome. While he was being treated at Winchester's Royal County Hospital his partner Lucy Townsend was told his chances of survival were just 3%. There was just one option left: amputation.

You realise how precious life is
Victim Alex Lewis

Both Lewis's legs and his left arm were removed in a series of operations, but surgeons were able to "save" his right hand using muscle from his back. Incredibly, the young father believes he is lucky to have any possibility of using his hand again – and says the initial reaction of his three-year-old son Sam was more painful than anything else:

"He could get his head around the legs and the arm, but then last Saturday he came the closest he's come to me since it happened. I put my arm stump out and touched him and I said, 'Look at that' and he said, 'No, get off'. But then I flexed my bicep even though it was agony and he just fell about laughing, he absolutely loved it."

Lewis is adjusting to his new life and displaying an incredibly positive outlook: "My life will never be the same again, our family life will never be the same again but I feel lucky. I'm lucky to be alive today. To be able to have the chance to walk the dog with my son again in the countryside, something as simple as that, just like I used to. That's amazing. I think you realise how precious life is. It sounds corny but it's so true."