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What is Strep A, the common bacterium that killed six children in the UK?



UK health officials advise parents and schools to be vigilant. streptococcal infection following the recent deaths of six children.

Covid-19 restrictions such as masks and social distancing are no longer required in the UK, allowing infections such as Strep A to spread more easily, with cases rising in the past month.

Streptococcus A, also known as group A streptococcus (GAS), can cause a range of symptoms ranging from mild to severe, but is not fatal for most people infected.

Strep A is a bacterium found in the throat and skin. It usually causes fever and a throat infection, and many people are asymptomatic. However, you can spread the infection to others through coughing, sneezing, or close contact.

Symptoms of infection include pain when swallowing, fever, skin rash, and swollen tonsils and glands. Infections are common in crowded environments such as schools and nurseries. U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said on its website.

“[Infectious diseases]tend to be fairly harmless,” said Beate Kampmann, professor of pediatric infections and immunity and director of the Vaccine Center at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, in a statement on Friday.

“[But]in very rare situations where bacteria produce toxins, they can gain access to the bloodstream and cause really serious illnesses such as sepsis, heart inflammation, and toxic shock with organ failure.

She advised parents to see a doctor immediately if their child looks “very bad” with symptoms such as fever, vomiting, muscle aches and rashes.

Invasive group A streptococci (iGAS) is a term used when bacteria enter the body and overcome its natural defenses to enter areas such as the blood, making them more dangerous. UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) explains on their website.

There is no vaccine to prevent Strep A or iGAS infections, but antibiotics are usually effective in treating them.

UKHSA Deputy Director Colin Brown said: “This year we are seeing more cases of Group A streptococci than in previous years.” statement On Friday.

An increase in iGAS this year has been observed, especially in children under the age of 10, UKHSA added. Five children have died in England.One death reported in Wales, according to public health wales.

UKHSA data show that from mid-September to mid-November, the number of cases per 100,000 children aged 1-4 years was 2.3, compared with an average of 0.5 in the pre-pandemic season (2017-2019). was.

For children ages 5 to 9, there were 1.1 cases per 100,000, compared to a pre-pandemic average of 0.3.

The last high infection rate was between 2017 and 2018, during which time four children under the age of 10 died, the statement added.

UKHSA said it did not believe new strains were circulating, as the increase in infections was likely a result of “bacterial circulation and social mixing”.




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