Children Dying Of Strep A in The UK, What Is It and Who Should Be Worried

Strep A is making headlines as many children in the UK have died of this bacterial infection. Here is everything you need to know.

Chanchal Sengar
Written by: Chanchal SengarUpdated at: Dec 08, 2022 10:53 IST
Children Dying Of Strep A in The UK, What Is It and Who Should Be Worried

Strep A is all over the news as children in the UK are dying of this bacterial infection. It is spreading rapidly as hundreds of children have gotten affected with this infection in the past few weeks. Health officials are warning parents to be aware and watchful of this lethal infection.

Strep A or group A streptococcus is a common bacteria found in skin and throat. This is a highly contagious bacteria that is mostly mild but can get severe and cause life-threatening complications. This can spread through close contact with an infected person. Although the cases are being reported in children mostly, adults too can get this infection. Surprisingly, a lot of people have group A strep infection with no symptoms. They are unaware about their condition and thus can potentially infect others  who might develop chronic complications due to this infection.

How does strep A spread?

This infection spreads when a healthy person comes in close contact with an infected person. This contagious bacterial infection can spread through coughing, sneezing, and other body fluids. The outbreak of strep A in the UK happened in schools, and so UK health officials have shared that schools might receive antibiotics considering the rise in cases. Strep A can only be controlled through antibiotics as there is no vaccine developed for it as of now.

Symptoms of Strep A

Strep A

In most cases, the symptoms of strep A are mild; it includes strep throat, soreness, fever, and skin infection. You can easily treat them with an antibiotics course. But some people experience its serious impact that can have a range of severe symptoms, one of which is scarlet fever. This mainly affects children and requires immediate medical aid to manage the condition. When children don’t receive timely treatment, they may suffer from the worst which is death. Children who succumbed to strep A in the UK developed this fever.

What is scarlet fever?

Scarlet fever is characterised by flu-like symptoms, high fever, rashes, strep throat, and swollen neck. Besides, some people may also experience 'strawberry tongue', which is a condition where your tongue turns red and looks similar to a strawberry.

While all the cases of strep A infection are not dangerous, some people may develop iGAS or invasive group A streptococcal infection. This infection is dangerous and deadly because this is caused when the bacteria impairs the immune system. This happens when an ailing person or someone who is on a crucial medical treatment like a cancer therapy catches the infection. An impaired immune system can make things worse.

In such a case, you may experience high fever and muscle aches along with other symptoms of strep A bacterial infection.

The health officials have warned of these warning signs of strep A and issued an advisory that people must seek immediate treatment if they experience these symptoms.

Since children are the most affected ones lately, parents must be watchful of potential symptoms of strep A in their kids. Make sure they do not come in contact with someone who is sick and has similar signs as the bacterial infection.

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