Strep A: Manchester pharmacist discusses supply issues
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At least 30 children have now died in the UK from the invasive Strep A infection (iGas). New figures released by the the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) saw the grim death toll rise with the deaths of five more children reported. The UKHSA announced today that three children died from iGas in Belfast and Wales.
On Wednesday, two children under the age of 10 were reported to have died in Scotland from invasive Strep A, according to Public Health Scotland.
In England alone, 25 children have died from the invasive infection so far since mid-September.
This means that the country has now surpassed the 27 deaths of children in the last comparably ‘high season’ of Strep A from 2017 to 2018.
Across all age groups, 122 deaths from invasive Strep A have been reported in England.
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The UKHSA has recorded 151 cases in children aged one to four this season, compared to 194 cases from 2017 to 2018.
The number of cases in other age groups are also catching up to those reported from 2017 to 2018, with 102 cases in children aged five to nine this year compared to 117 five years ago.
The UKHSA said that the latest data confirms an “out-of-season increase” in Strep A and scarlet fever infections and a higher number of cases of both diseases than seen in a typical year.
While the vast majority of infections are relatively mild, sometimes the bacteria cause a life-threatening illness called invasive group A Streptococcal disease, or iGas.
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Dr Obaghe Edeghere, UKHSA incident director, sought to calm parental concerns about the infection after the alarming milestone figure.
The health boss said: “We are continuing to see a rise in scarlet fever and ‘strep throat’ and this is understandably concerning for parents.
“However I would stress that the condition can be easily treated with antibiotics and it is very rare that a child will go on to become more seriously ill.”
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He added:”Over the winter, there are lots of illnesses circulating that can make children unwell and so it is important to avoid contact with other people if you are feeling unwell, wash your hands regularly and thoroughly and catch coughs and sneezes in a tissue.
“I would also urge all those eligible for free winter vaccines to take advantage of these.
“Most winter illnesses can be managed at home and nhs.uk has information to help parents look after children with mild illness.
“However please do make sure you speak to a healthcare professional if you believe your child is getting worse, for instance (if) they are feeding or eating less than normal, are dehydrated, has a high temperature that won’t go down, is very hot and sweaty or seems more tired or irritable than normal.”
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