More young children die from Strep A infection in England and Wales

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More Young Children Die From Strep A Infection In England And Wales More Young Children Die From Strep A Infection In England And Wales
Health officials in Britain are understood to have seen a slight rise in cases of Strep A, which can cause scarlet fever. Photo: PA
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By Jane Kirby, PA Health Editor

More young children have died in England and Wales after contracting Strep A infection.

Health officials confirmed a youngster from St John’s School in Ealing, west London, had died from the bacterial infection, while the parents of a four-year-old boy from Buckinghamshire said he had died from Strep A.

It comes after a pupil from Victoria primary school in Penarth, four miles south of Cardiff, also died.

Last week, a six-year-old died after an outbreak of the same infection at a school in Surrey.

Health officials are understood to have seen a slight rise in cases of Strep A, which can cause scarlet fever, though deaths and serious complications from the infection are rare.

 

Dr Yimmy Chow, health protection consultant at the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA), said of the Ealing case: “We are extremely saddened to hear about the death of a child at St John’s Primary School, and our thoughts are with their family, friends and the school community.

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“Working with Ealing Council public health team, we have provided precautionary advice to the school community to help prevent further cases and we continue to monitor the situation closely.

“Group A streptococcal infections usually result in mild illness, and information has been shared with parents and staff about the signs and symptoms.

“These include a sore throat, fever and minor skin infections and can be treated with a full course of antibiotics from the GP.

“In rare incidences, it can be a severe illness and anyone with high fever, severe muscle aches, pain in one area of the body and unexplained vomiting or diarrhoea should call NHS 111 and seek medical help immediately.”

Group A strep bacteria can cause many different infections, ranging from minor illnesses to deadly diseases.

Scarlet fever is caused by Strep A and mostly affects young children but is easily treated with antibiotics.

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According to the UK's NHS website, the first signs of scarlet fever can be flu-like symptoms, including a high temperature, a sore throat and swollen neck glands.

A rash appears 12 to 48 hours later which starts on the chest and stomach, then spreads.

A white coating also appears on the tongue which peels, leaving the tongue red, swollen and covered in little bumps (often called “strawberry tongue”).

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