Strep A – latest news: Another child dies as two are hospitalized with scarlet fever

What is Strep A and what are the symptoms?

Health authorities last night confirmed the death of a four-year-old with Strep A from Ireland just hours after news broke that two children were admitted to hospital following a scarlet fever outbreak at a primary school in Wales.

In the wake of the most recent fatality, the Health Service Executive (HSE) said it contacted schools and childcare providers with information on Strep A infections, including scarlet fever and other winter viruses.

It comes as a total of 24 children at Brynaman Primary School in Carmarthenshire have been diagnosed with the infection, while two have been taken to hospital.

Councilor Glynog Davies, cabinet member for education and Welsh language, reported that five schools across the county had scarlet fever cases.

On Wednesday, it was reported that cases of scarlet fever had soared tenfold this year amid an increase in Strep A infections.

Most recent data published by the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) shows there had been around 23,000 incidents of the infection this year up until last week, compared to just 2,323 during the same period in 2021.

Scarlet fever is caused by the bacteria called group A streptococcus. Although usually a mild illness, it is highly infectious.

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Are vaccines available for Strep A and scarlet fever?

Nine children in the UK have died in recent weeks as a result of an outbreak of Group A Streptococcusa potentially deadly bacterial infection more commonly known as Strep A.

The bacteria, Streptococcus pyogenes, can linger in the throat and on the skin and cause many different illnesses if transmitted through sneezing or physical contact, including impetigo, scarlet fever and strep throat.

While the vast majority of infections prove relatively mild, the bacteria can also sometimes cause a life-threatening illness known as invasive Group A Streptococcal (iGAS) disease. Symptoms include high fever, severe muscle aches, localized muscle tenderness and redness at the site of a wound.

Emily Atkinson8 December 2022 09:00

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Death of child, 4, in Ireland, confirmed as Strep A

An invasive form of Strep A has been linked to the death of a four-year-old child in Ireland, bringing the number of children who have died with the infection in recent weeks to 10.

The Health Service Executive (HSE) had been investigating whether invasive Group A streptococcal had been a factor in the death of the child in the north east area of ​​the country.

“We can now confirm that invasive Group A Streptococcal infection was found to be the cause of the infection associated with their death,” it said.

Emily Atkinson8 December 2022 08:41

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Strep A cases in your area as hundreds of infections reported across the UK

Parents have been warned to be on the lookout for symptoms after a rise in infections caused by the Strep A bacteria.

At least nine children have died with an invasive form of the bacteria in recent weeks, while cases of scarlet fever, which is caused by Strep A infection, have skyrocketed.

Concern has been raised as cases are higher than usual for the time of year.

Liam James has the details:

Emily Atkinson8 December 2022 08:02

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Irish Health officials move to reassure parents after child deaths

Health authorities have moved to reassure parents after it was confirmed that an invasive form of Strep A was linked to the death of a four-year-old child in Ireland.

The Health Service Executive (HSE) had been investigating whether invasive Group A streptococcal had been a factor in the death of the child in the north east area of ​​the country.

“We can now confirm that invasive Group A Streptococcal infection was found to be the cause of the infection associated with their death,” it said.

Public health staff are supporting the family as well as the school the child attended.

Health authorities have contacted schools and childcare providers with information on Strep A infections, including scarlet fever and other winter viruses.

The Chief Medical Officer Breda Smyth and health authorities have stressed that while it is a worrying time for parents, most children who get sick from a Strep A infection will have a mild illness which can be treated with antibiotics.

The advice stresses that if a child is seriously unwell, particularly if they are getting worse, professional medical advice should be sought.

“As a parent, if you feel that your child is seriously unwell, you should trust your own judgment,” the HSE advice states.

Emily Atkinson8 December 2022 07:28

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Can adults get Strep A?

Why is Strep A spreading among children and can adults contract it?

Yes, adults can get Strep A. Scarlet fever is more common in children, but those at increased risk for scarlet fever include parents of school-aged children and those who are often in contact with children.

The NHS also notes that those at risk of iGAS include people who:

  • Are in close contact with someone who has the disease
  • Are over the age of 65
  • Have diabetes, heart disease or cancer
  • Have recently had chickenpox
  • Have HIV
  • Use some steroids or other intravenous drugs.

Eleanor Noyce8 December 2022 07:00

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What to do if you think your child has Strep A

The UKHSA advises contacting NHS 111 or your GP if you suspect your child has scarlet fever, because early treatment of the illness with antibiotics is important in reducing the risk of complications such as pneumonia or a bloodstream infection.

If your child has scarlet fever, keep them at home until at least 24 hours after the start of antibiotic treatment to avoid spreading the infection to others.

In most cases, scarlet fever will resolve itself without medical intervention, but children can occasionally develop a bacterial infection on top of the virus which can make them more unwell.

Joanna Whitehead has more:

Eleanor Noyce8 December 2022 06:00

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Strep A: ‘Patchy’ penicillin supply as demand for antibiotics rises

Pharmacists have said they are struggling to get penicillin, a first line drug used to treat Strep Asaying supply has been “patchy”.

Pharmacists have reported issues getting liquid penicillin, with two different industry bodies raising concerns over the drug’s supply.

Eleanor Noyce8 December 2022 05:00

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Scarlet fever cases rise tenfold as parents struggle to find Strep A antibiotics

Strep A bacteria usually only causes mild illness, including scarlet fever and strep throat, which is treated with antibiotics. But in rare cases, it can progress into a potentially life-threatening disease if it gets into the bloodstream.

Pharmacists say they are struggling to get their hands on antibiotics to treat Strep A infections – despite the government insisting there is no shortage.

“We are worried because we are having to turn patients away,” Dr. Leyla Hannbeck, the head of the Association of Multiple Pharmacies (AIMP), told The Independent.

Eleanor Noyce8 December 2022 04:00

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Strep A concerns create ‘carnage’ and ‘eyewatering demand’ for the NHS

NHS 111, primary care and A&E services have suffered “carnage” following the recent outbreak in Strep A cases.

Senior staff working across services in the NHS have warned that news about the outbreak of Strep A has pushed more parents to use services during a time when demand is already at record levels.

Leading epidemiologists speaking with The Independent have warned that the outbreak, which has killed at least nine children, could only be the beginning, with peaks usually expected closer to spring.

Eleanor Noyce8 December 2022 03:00

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Can I get a swab test for Strep A? Online retailers selling out as infections rise across the UK

Nine children have died from Strep A in recent weeks amid a rise in infections across the UK.

In certain countries, rapid Strep A tests are used to spot the bacterial infection.

The tests commonly used in the United States are not too dissimilar in design to the lateral flow tests used to quickly diagnose Covid-19. Throat swabs taken by a medical practitioner and results become apparent within 15 minutes.

If positive, an infected patient can start a course of antibiotics immediately, If negative, but the medical professional still has reason to suspect Strep A, the swab is sent to a lab for more thorough investigation.

Eleanor Noyce8 December 2022 02:00

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