What is Streptococcus A, scarlet fever, the disease infecting British children?

What is Streptococcus A, scarlet fever, the disease infecting British children?

Streptococcus A — or group A strep (GAS) — is a bacterial infection of the throat or skin that usually occurs during the winter months.

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Health officials in the United Kingdom are warning parents to be vigilant after a recent spate of severe Strep A infections resulted in the deaths of at least six children.

The UK Health Safety Agency issued a rare health warning Friday urges parents to monitor their children for tell-tale symptoms of the disease, which can include sore throat, headache, fever and body rashes.

At least six children have died from severe cases of the infection since September, health agencies said, while reported cases have risen more than 4.5 times the number seen in recent years.

What is strep A?

Streptococcus A — or group A strep (GAS) — is a bacterial infection of the throat or skin that usually occurs during the winter months.

While most cases are mild and often go unnoticed, it can lead to more serious illnesses and complications, such as scarlet fever.

Scarlet fever is a highly contagious bacterial infection that mainly affects young children. It usually causes flu-like symptoms and a fine, sandpaper-like rash, which can usually be treated with antibiotics.

However, in rare cases, the bacteria can enter the bloodstream and cause a disease called invasive group A streptococci (iGAS).

These severe infections can be fatal, and are believed to be the cause of the recent wave of deaths.

Be sure to talk to a healthcare provider if your child shows signs of getting worse after a bout of scarlet fever.

Dr. Colin Brown

Deputy Director, UKHSA

Health officials have therefore urged parents to be vigilant warning signs invasive disease, including a temperature above 38 degrees Celsius (100.4 degrees Fahrenheit).

“It is important that parents are on the lookout for symptoms and see a doctor as soon as possible so that their child can be treated and to prevent the infection from becoming serious,” said Dr Colin Brown, UKHSA deputy director.

“Make sure you talk to a healthcare professional if your child shows signs of getting worse after a bout of scarlet fever, sore throat or a respiratory infection,” he added.

The number of cases is increasing after Covid

There are five deaths occurs in children younger than 10 years in England, according to the UKHSA. Public Health Wales has reported a sixth death at a Welsh primary (primary) school.

A new death of a 12-year-old schoolboy from London was reported on Saturday, but has not yet been confirmed.

Usually one or two children under the age of 10 die from strep A during the UK winter

In the week to November 20, 851 cases of scarlet fever were reported in the UK, compared with an average of 186 in previous years.

Health officials said there is currently no evidence that the new strain is circulating. The increase is likely related to large amounts of circulating bacteria and social mixing after the end of Covid-19 restrictions.

“(We have to) recognize that the measures we have taken over the last few years to reduce the circulation of Covid will also reduce the circulation of other infections,” Dr Susan Hopkins, UKHSA’s chief medical adviser, told BBC Radio 4’s Today program on Monday.

“This means that as things return to normal, these traditional infections that we’ve seen for years are circulating at high levels,” she added.

The latest epidemic followed a increase in other diseases this yearincluding monkeypox and a mysterious liver disease affecting children.

Some doctors are worried about the impact the latest outbreak could have on the UK’s already struggling NHS.

“The last thing we want is for emergency departments to be overwhelmed by a new influx of worried parents,” Neena Modi, professor of neonatal medicine at Imperial College London, he told the Guardian.

The UKHSA said worried parents in the UK should first contact NHS 111 or their local GP if they notice early symptoms in their children, while more severe cases should call 999 or visit A&E.

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