A FIVE-year-old girl has become the ninth child to die after contracting Strep A.
The youngster fell severely ill last week and was treated in hospital but sadly passed away yesterday, the BBC reports.
She attended Black Mountain Primary School in Belfast.
Her death takes the number of children known to have died from the illness – which usually only causes a mild sore throat and temperature but can be life-threatening – to nine.
Lockdowns during the pandemic, when kids were trapped indoors, are being blamed for the outbreak.
As cases of scarlet fever and Strep A sweep across the UK, several primary schools have made the decision to close.
St Vincent’s Voluntary Catholic Academy in Hull shut for a “deep clean” on Friday after a small number of children came down with a bug.
Parents at the school gates on Monday were in agreement that it was the right precaution to take.
The UK Health Security Agency said the last time there was an intensive period of Strep A infection was in 2017-18 when four deaths were recorded in England in the equivalent time frame.
Most read in Health
HIGH ALERT: Symptoms of invasive Strep A
Group A Streptococcus (GAS) – is also known as Streptococcus pyogenes – and is a bacteria that can cause mild illnesses like sore throats and skin infections, including tonsillitis cellulitis, impetigo and scarlet fever.
In rare cases, the bacteria can trigger the life-threatening illness, invasive group A Strep disease.
Guidance from the NHS states that there are four key signs of invasive disease:
- fever (a high temperature above 38°C (100.4°F)
- severe muscle aches
- localised muscle tenderness
- redness at the site of a wound
Invasive disease happens when the bacteria break through the body’s immune defences.
It can happen if you’re already ill or have a weakened immune system.
Two of the most severe examples of invasive disease are necrotising fasciitis and toxic shock syndrome.
You’re at increased risk of Group Strep A invasive disease if you:
- are in close contact with someone who has the disease
- are over the age of 65
- are diabetic, have heart disease or cancer
- have recently had chickenpox
- have HIV
- use some steroids or intravenous drugs, according to the NHS.
Group Strep A bacteria can also cause scarlet fever, which can be serious if it’s not treated with antibiotics.