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‘He thought it was the flu,’ says widow of man who died of strep A

A New Brunswick widow is urging Canadians with symptoms of strep A to get tested or go to the hospital so that other families don’t have to deal with a loss like hers did.

Dan Wetmore, 49, died on January 19 — the same day he was rushed to the Moncton Hospital for symptoms that, up to then, he thought were caused by influenza.

“My husband had no idea. He thought he had the flu,” said Kim Wetmore from her home in Riverview, NB. “I kept saying to him, ‘We need to go to the hospital,’ and he kept saying, ‘It’s just the flu.'”

Wetmore’s husband had been fighting a sore throat and tiredness. After about eight days, his condition deteriorated.

By then, he was spending entire days in bed. Eventually, he was vomiting, experiencing body aches, chills, and lost his voice.

In the early hours of Jan. 19, Wetmore said her husband called an ambulance.

He was treated right away but ended up in the ICU, diagnosed with invasive group A streptococcus — a serious bacterial infection.

Wetmore says her husband, and father of her son, died hours later.

Now, she’s urging people with symptoms of strep A to take action — get tested, and go to the hospital.

“People need to be checked,” she said.

As of Jan. 29, the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) has received more than 4,800 invasive group A streptococcus (iGAS) samples from 2023.

It’s the highest number ever recorded and a more than 48 per cent increase over a previous 2019 spike of 3,236 samples.

“As of Jan. 29, we have received almost 400 iGAS samples collected in 2024,” said a spokesperson with the Public Health Agency of Canada.

Anne Marie Picone, Interim Executive Director of New Brunswick’s Pharmacist’s Association, said six pharmacies in the province are now able to assess and prescribe for Group A strep and that demand has been huge.

“There is a bit of sense of panic that is out there and we don’t want people to be panicked. We can manage this together,” said Picone.”We’re trying to manage in these six locations to be able to do what can be done.”

Steven Allen, a father who tried to get his son an appointment at a pharmacy in Riverview, N.B. Tuesday told CTV News he was told the soonest appointment was next week.

“Where’s the infrastructure? Why is there not a centre opened up for this too?” Allen asked.

Back at the Wetmore’s house, stories about Dan flow easily. The 49-year-old was a family man who loved sports and watching his son play hockey and football. But he was also a recognizable part of the Moncton Market — a member of the Kurt’s Sausage crew who grilled sausages and schnitzel.

“He loved people, and that’s why so many are reaching out,” said Kim Wetmore.

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