Strep A: Parents told to be vigilant after seventh child dies in UK | Streptococcus A

The UK government has urged parents to be vigilant for signs of a rare invasive form of strep A infection, after it was reported that a 12-year-old London schoolboy was the last person to die after contracted it.

Nadhim Zahawi, a cabinet minister, said that although most cases of strep A were mild, parents should be aware of the symptoms.

“It’s really important to be vigilant because in the very rare circumstances where it gets serious, then you need urgent treatment,” he told Sky News’ Sophy Ridge on Sunday. “In most cases it will be a mild case of strep, but it is highly contagious, so I think the important message to get across this morning is that parents need to watch out for symptoms, so fever, headache, rash.”

It was reported on Saturday that a 12-year-old Year 8 pupil at a south London school had died after developing the infection, bringing the total death toll from the infection to seven.

The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) on Friday confirmed that six children under the age of 10 had died after contracting a strep A infection since September, as it issued a rare alert after a rise in cases across the country.

Other confirmed child deaths after contracting the rare form of invasive infection include Muhammad Ibrahim Ali, four, from Buckinghamshire, who died in an ambulance en route to hospital.

His mother, Shabana Kousar, told Sky News her son first developed a red rash on his lower back which was helped by a course of antibiotics, but two weeks later his condition improved. is aggravated and he has developed stomach pains. After his death, an autopsy showed he had strep A in his blood.

“I think parents should be made aware of the symptoms and act accordingly if their child experiences something similar,” she said.

Four-year-old Camila Rose Burns has been on a ventilator at Alder Hey Children’s Hospital in Liverpool since Monday after contracting strep A.

Strep A bacteria can cause many health problems, most of which are mild. They can include scarlet fever and, very rarely, invasive group A streptococcal disease (iSGA).

The latest data from the UKHSA showed that rates of scarlet fever and iGAS are two to three times higher than at the same time of year before the pandemic, with cases occurring earlier in the year.

During the week of November 14-20, 851 cases of scarlet fever were reported, compared to an average of 186 for the same period in previous years.

The UKHSA said there was no evidence that a new strain of Strep A was circulating, and the increase was most likely due to large amounts of bacteria in circulation and social mixing.

Dr Helen Salisbury, a GP at Oxford, said while each death was a tragedy, the situation was not new. “There have always been, unfortunately, cases of invasive group A strep. I think there were four child deaths in 2019,” she said. “He was always there [but] it is sometimes worse.

Salisbury said it was inevitable that GPs would face an increase in the number of parents bringing their children due to Strep A problems, and that there were difficulties for GPs in identifying children who might be develop an invasive infection.

“From a parent’s perspective, it must be really scary. How do you know if that sore throat is just an ordinary or garden sore throat, or if it’s a prelude to something really serious? And I think it’s quite difficult for parents and to some extent for GPs as well,” she said.

“Even if you had all the time in the world and weren’t in a rush or rush, it’s still hard to tell which child is going to get sick.”

She said parents should look for symptoms that indicate an invasive infection is developing, such as a continued high temperature, lethargy or weakness, not eating or drinking as usual, and lack of urine.

Salisbury also stressed that parents should be able to return to their GP if the child’s condition deteriorates. She expressed concern that this did not always happen.

“I know there are places where they’re really, really short of GPs and it’s hard to get an appointment,” she said. “We are chronically under-doctored long-term in general medicine, and when something serious makes the news like this, it really makes it clear.”

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