A British television presenter who was dispatched to cover the Rio Olympics has fallen gravely ill, according to The Sun.
Charlie Webster contracted a rare strain of malaria while en route to Brazil and currently remains in a coma.
“Charlie is battling for survival at the moment—everyone is distraught,” a friend reportedly told the newspaper. “But she is so strong and a very fit and healthy person in general so we have to keep positive.”
Webster biked 3,000 miles to the Olympics from Britain to raise money for charity. At the opening ceremony she became ill and was subsequently hospitalized for dehydration.
“I’m getting there…awful few days with serious infection #Rio,” tweeted Webster on Aug. 8
— Charlie Webster (@CharlieCW) August 9, 2016
“6 weeks on the road ends in this. Very rough day, severe dehydration & infection – 2 drips & antibiotics,” she tweeted.
— Charlie Webster (@CharlieCW) August 7, 2016
As days passed, her condition worsened.
“Her kidneys stopped functioning and she was put on dialysis,” a friend said. “Charlie’s breathing became laboured [sic] and she was unable to breath unsupported.”
On Aug. 12 Webster was put into an induced coma and is currently on life support.
Further tests revealed that she had caught a rare strain of malaria. British physicians and doctors from the United States are assisting Rio medical staff with a treatment plan to nurse the 33-year-old back to health.
“British and American medical specialists have been consulted, as have the London School of Tropical Medicine,” said the friend. “Charlie and the Ride to Rio charity team were told that malaria wasn’t a risk, so the doctors are trying to work out where she could have contracted it from.”
Webster documented her bike journey in a blog post, where she wrote about feeling sick.
“I went through about an hour of just feeling rubbish, sick, eyes allover [sic] the place and head banging,” she wrote on July 22. “We pulled up for some shade and to take on a few gels and we all just slumped on a makeshift bench, clearly all feeling the same. The hills were tough but the heat just makes it ten times harder.”
Malaria is a disease caused by a parasite transmitted by infected mosquitoes and can cause fever, chills, and flu-like symptoms, and can result in death if untreated.