Strep A death of eighth child confirmed

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An eighth child has died from a severe strep A bacterial infection, it has been confirmed.

Morelands Primary, in Waterlooville, Hampshire, said it was “absolutely devastated” by the loss of one of its pupils.

Such deaths are rare, but, since September, seven other UK children have lost their lives due to complications of the disease.

Earlier, it emerged a 12-year-old pupil in south-east London had also died.

And there have been five deaths of under-fives in England and a death of a seven-year-old in Wales.

Reports say there are eight cases of severe strep disease in Scotland, but no deaths. It is not known whether there are any ongoing severe cases in Wales and Northern Ireland.

However, a cluster of scarlet fever cases has been identified at a primary school in County Down. Some people who have Strep A develop scarlet fever, which causes a skin rash (that feels like sandpaper) and flu-like symptoms, including a high temperature.

‘Devastating loss’
Morelands Primary School head teacher Alison Syred-Paul said: “We are absolutely devastated by the loss of one of our young pupils and offer our sincere and heartfelt condolences to the child’s family at this extremely sad time. We ask that the privacy of the family is respected.

“As a precaution, we have been raising awareness amongst parents, carers and our school community of the signs and symptoms…and what to do if a child develops these.”

Strep A: Why it can be dangerous and what to know
Headteacher urges more Strep A awareness
Richard Russell, head of Colfe’s School in Lee, London, where the 12-year-old Year 8 pupil died, said the tragedy was “wholly unexpected” and had affected “all members of the school community”.

He said the school was doing what it could to support the pupil’s family “who are seeking to come to terms with their devastating loss”.
Health experts say parents and doctors need to be vigilant and have a low bar for treating the contagious disease that is circulating earlier than usual this year.

They say the UK must brace itself for more cases, as levels of the bacteria circulating are thought currently to be high.

Most strep A infections are mild and get better with antibiotics. But some people who catch it can get very sick.

Four-year-old Camila Rose Burns is critically ill and on a ventilator in hospital because of a severe strep A infection, known as invasive group A Strep (iGAS).

Her father, Dean Burns, from Liverpool, told the BBC’s Today programme: “She is still fighting for her life. She is really poorly, it is just devastating to us as a family. We can’t believe this has happened.

“It progressed to something called invasive group A strep, which has now gone into her bloodstream and has devastated her body.

“I’m at a loss with it all, I just want our family back. The pain is unimaginable. She is just so beautiful and precious. She is just our special little girl.”