Strep A: Eighth child dies from infection as parents are issued warning over symptoms

Parents are being urged to look out for the symptoms.
Parents are being urged to look out for the symptoms.

An eighth child has died from Strep A in the UK as an invasive form of the bacteria moves across the nation

Published Last updated

An eighth child has died from Strep A in the UK as an invasive form of the bacteria moves across the nation.

Reports from Hampshire suggest a further child has died after seven death confirmations in the UK.

Asked about the recent rise in cases, the Prime Minister’s official spokesman said: “We are seeing a higher number of cases of Group A strep this year compared to usual.

“The bacteria we know causes a mild infection which is easily treated with antibiotics and in rare circumstances it can get into the bloodstream and cause serious illness.

“It is still uncommon, but it’s important parents are on the lookout for symptoms.

“But the NHS is well prepared to deal with situations like this, working with the UK Health Security Agency.”

He said any parents who are concerned should contact the NHS.

Asked if there was a shortage of the drug used to treat the infection, the spokesman added: “It’s important to reassure parents that there is no current shortage as far as we’re aware.

“Generally speaking, we have well established procedures to deal with any potentials for medicines shortages and to prevent them as we saw during the pandemic.”

Strep A infections are usually mild and can be easily treated with antibiotics – illnesses caused by the Group A strep bacteria include the skin infection impetigo, scarlet fever and strep throat.

There has been a big leap in the number of scarlet fever cases.

There were 851 cases reported in the week November 14 to 20, compared to an average of 186 for the same timeframe in previous years.

Symptoms of scarlet fever include sore throat, headache, and fever, along with a fine, pinkish or red body rash with a “sandpapery” feel.

On darker skin the rash can be more difficult to detect visually but will have a “sandpapery” feel.

If a parent or carer suspects scarlet fever they should call their GP or 111 as prompt treatment with antibiotics can prevent serious illness and stop the spread of infection.