Former Sky sports presenter Charlie Webster contracted a rare form of malaria after completing a 3,000-mile charity bicycle ride from London to Rio. As the infection got progressively worse, and she suffered serious complications, the 33-year-old woman was placed in a medically induced coma. According to reports, the television personality is now on life support.
As reported by BBC, Webster “appeared to be in good health,” with the exception of being somewhat dehydrated, when she completed the charity ride on August 4.
— BBC News England (@BBCEngland) August 18, 2016
The sports presenter had planned to attend the Rio Olympics as part of Team GB’s Great Britons campaign. However, she began feeling seriously ill shortly after opening ceremonies. The following day, she was hospitalized with a significant infection and severe dehydration.
Although she was active on social media during the charity ride and immediately following her hospitalization, Charlie Webster’s last message to her fans was on August 9. Guardian reports the short message, which was posted via Twitter, simply said, “Looking forward to being a part of TeamGB here at Rio2016.”
Two days later, a spokesperson posted messages on the television personality’s social media sites, explaining that Charlie is gravely ill.
“What was initially thought as dehydration caused by her riding to Rio has since been diagnosed as a severe complication caused by a bacterial infection.”
Officials later confirmed Webster was diagnosed with a “rare form of malaria,” which she may have contracted in Rio after completing the charity ride.
As her condition continued to worsen, the sports presenter was placed in a medically induced coma on Friday. According to reports, Charlie Webster is currently on life support. She is also receiving dialysis, as “her kidneys stopped functioning properly.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Malaria is caused by a parasite, which is spread to humans by infected mosquitoes. Although the disease was largely eliminated from the United States in the 1950s, it has been reintroduced, in small batches, by people who travel to other countries, contract the disease, and return to the U.S.
Symptoms of a malaria infection usually begin to appear between one week and one month after contracting the disease. Although infections range from mild to severe, common symptoms appear in three stages, which can persist for a period of 10 hours.
During the “cold stage” patients reports chills and uncontrolled shivering. The second stage, which is called the “hot stage,” often includes fever, headaches, and vomiting. The third and final stage, called the “sweating stage,” usually includes heavy sweating, fatigue, and return to a normal temperature.
Although most people recover from malaria, some patients experience severe complications, which can include organ failure and eventual death.
The World Health Organization estimates 214 million people were hospitalized with malaria, worldwide, in 2015. An estimated 483,000 of those patients later died.
As reported by Cosmopolitan, Charlie Webster’s publicist confirmed she “contracted a rare form of malaria.” Although the sports presenter is fighting for her life, the publicist said she “is getting the best treatment available from a team of specialist doctors from Brazil, the USA, and the UK.”
— The Times of London (@thetimes) August 18, 2016
Charlie Webster is a popular sports presenter and television host, who worked for Sky and ITV.
On her official website, Webster describes herself as a sports enthusiast, a competitive athlete, a passionate public speaker, and a staunch supporter of charities focusing on women’s rights and abuse prevention.
Charlie also started modeling at a young age, and is “currently the face and ambassador for Skechers performance and lifestyle.”
Although she is currently in a coma and on life support, Charlie Webster’s family, friends, colleagues, and fans hope she will be strong enough to fight the infection and make a complete recovery.
[Photo by Jonathan Short/Invision/AP Photo]