Strep A WARNING: NHS issues urgent alert as 12-year-old boy becomes SEVENTH child to die from infectious disease
The NHS has issued an urgent alert after a 12-year-old boy became the seventh child to die from Strep A
The NHS has issued an urgent alert after a 12-year-old boy became the seventh child to die from Strep A.
Health experts are investigating cases of Strep A infection after the deaths of seven young children and a rise in cases.
The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) said there had been a rise in rare invasive Group A strep this year, particularly in children under 10, with six deaths of under-10s in England since September.
A separate case has been reported in Wales, taking the known UK total to seven.
Health chiefs sent GPs an “urgent public health message” after a 12-year-old boy reportedly died in London over the weekend.
The message from the UK Heath Security Agency urges doctors to set a “low threshold” when sending child who are symptomatic to hospital and prescribing antibiotics.
Group A strep bacteria can cause many different infections, ranging from minor illnesses to deadly diseases.
The range of illnesses includes the skin infection impetigo, scarlet fever and strep throat.
While the vast majority of infections are relatively mild, sometimes the bacteria cause a life-threatening illness called invasive Group A Streptococcal disease.
According to UKHSA data, there were 2.3 cases of invasive disease per 100,000 children aged one to four this year in England, compared with an average of 0.5 in the pre-pandemic seasons (2017 to 2019).
There have also been 1.1 cases per 100,000 children aged five to nine compared with the pre-pandemic average of 0.3 (2017 to 2019).
Parents are being told to contact NHS 111 or their GP if their child is getting worse, is feeding or eating much less than normal, or has had a dry nappy for 12 hours or more or shows other signs of dehydration.
They should also seek help if their baby is under three months and has a temperature of 38C, or is older than 3 months and has a temperature of 39C or higher.
Other red flags are if the child is very tired or irritable.
Parents should call 999 or go to A&E if a child is having difficulty breathing (such as grunting noises or tummy sucking in under the ribs), pauses in breathing, blue colour to a child’s skin, tongue or lips, or if a child is floppy and will not wake up or stay awake.
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