Sixteenth child dies after suffering from Strep A infection

UK

A pupil at a school in Sussex has died after suffering a suspected infection of the invasive strain of Strep A.

The UK Health Security Agency said the child attended Hove Park School and that specialists from the UKHSA are working with the city council following the death.

Dr Rachael Hornigold, consultant in health protection at UKHSA South East, said: “We are extremely saddened to hear about the death of a young child and our thoughts are with their family, friends and the local community.

“Infection with Group A Streptococcus bacterium usually causes a sore throat, scarlet fever or skin rash, and is passed by physical contact or through droplets from sneezing or coughing.

“In very rare cases, the infection can become invasive and enter parts of the body where bacteria aren’t normally found, which can be serious.

“We will implement public health actions, including advice to the city council and school community.”

The child is the 16th to die in the UK since September after contracting Strep A.

On Thursday, the UKSHA said the number of deaths in the UK had risen to 15. The death of a 4-year-old child in Ireland has also been linked to an invasive form of Strep A.

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Antibiotics ‘more than doubling’ in price

Read more:
What is Strep A and what are the symptoms?
Some pharmacies in England may see shortages of Strep A antibiotics

The child’s age and gender were not released; however Hove Park School is a secondary school, meaning the child would be over 11.

A year 8 boy in London was the first secondary school child to die from Strep A earlier this week.

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Parents are urged to look out for symptoms of Strep A infection – what are they?

Alistair Hill, director of public health at Brighton and Hove City Council, said: “We are working with the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) and Hove Park School following the death of a pupil who attended the school.

“We offer our heartfelt condolences to the family, friends and the whole school community who will all be deeply affected by the very tragic loss of this young child, and we are providing our support to them at this incredibly sad time.

“While we cannot comment on individual cases, we ask that the privacy of the family is respected.

“As a precaution, we have also been working closely with the school to raise awareness amongst parents and carers of the signs and symptoms of Group A Streptococcal infections, and what to do if a child develops these, including invasive Group A Streptococcal disease (iGAS).”

The UKHSA has said there is no current evidence that a new strain of Strep A is circulating and the rise in cases is most likely due to high amounts of circulating bacteria and increased social mixing.

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Pharmacists have rejected government claims the UK has a good supply antibiotics

England’s chief pharmaceutical officer has admitted local pharmacies may have shortages of some antibiotics to treat Strep A infections.

But David Webb also said that on a national level, there were “sufficient” stocks as he tried to reassure parents worried about the current outbreak.

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