According to the UKHSA, invasive Group A Strep remains uncommon, but there has nevertheless been a significant increase in cases this year, particularly among children aged under 10. Specifically, this year has seen 2.3 cases per 100,000 kids aged one to four and 1.1 per 100,000 children aged five to nine — compared, respectively, to figures of just 0.5 and 0.3 at this time of year prior to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The latest child to die after contracting the severe form of Strep A is understood to have been a 12-year-old boy from Lewisham, southeast London — the first secondary school student to have fallen victim to this year’s spike in cases.
Signs of invasive Group A Strep, Dr MacDermott explained, can include a persistently high temperature that won’t go down with normal measures, the child being irritable or difficult to wake, difficulty breathing, a rash that is spreading and doesn’t fade when pressed on, red and swollen joints and the child’s refusal to either walk or use a particular arm.
Dr MacDermott added: “Prompt treatment with antibiotics can manage these infections, but it is important they are recognised and treated quickly. Prompt treatment of Scarlet Fever and Strep throat also reduce the chances of a child developing invasive Group A Strep and reduce the chances of the infection spreading to other children at school or household members.”
It is recommended that parents keep their children at home for at least 24 hours after the commencement of antibiotic treatment to reduce the risk of the infection spreading.
READ MORE: Strep A warning for parents and GPs as seventh child dies