UK Strep A child death toll rises to 26 after Scotland confirms TWO fatalities among under-10s
- Two under-10s in Scotland have died with Strep A, health chiefs confirmed today
- The fatalities due to the bacterial infection are the first it has reported this winter
- It brings the UK’s Strep A confirmed death toll among children to 26
Two children aged under 10 in Scotland have died with Strep A, health chiefs confirmed today.
The fatalities due to the usually-mild bacterial infection are the first the nation has reported this season. It brings the UK’s Strep A death toll among children to 26.
The most recent UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) data shows 21 children in England have died from infection, while two children in Wales and one in Northern Ireland have also lost their lives.
Scotland has logged seven Strep A deaths in total this season — with the other five being among adults. The figure is in line with the maximum number recorded across an entire winter in previous years.
Strep A bacteria can cause a range of other infections, including impetigo, scarlet fever and strep throat
While the vast majority of infections are relatively mild, in exceptionally rare cases the bacteria can cause invasive Group A Streptococcal (iGAS)
What is Strep A?
Group A Streptococcus (Group A Strep or Strep A) bacteria can cause many different infections.
The bacteria are commonly found in the throat and on the skin, and some people have no symptoms.
Infections caused by Strep A range from minor illnesses to serious and deadly diseases.
They include the skin infection impetigo, scarlet fever and strep throat.
While the vast majority of infections are relatively mild, sometimes the bacteria cause an illness called invasive Group A Streptococcal disease.
READ MAILONLINE’S FULL Q&A ON STREP A.
In a report today, Public Health Scotland said it had logged seven deaths due to a Strep A complication, called invasive Group A Streptococcal (iGAS), since October.
Two of the most severe forms of this invasive disease are necrotising fasciitis and streptococcal toxic shock syndrome. Both can kill.
The agency confirmed two were among children under the age of 10, while the remaining five were adults.
It said: ‘PHS is aware of seven deaths amongst iGAS cases that appear to meet the case definition between 3 October and 25 December 2022, two of whom were in children under 10 years of age.
‘This compares with between zero and seven deaths reported during the same time period of previous years.’
The fatalities in Scotland have not been identified.
Confirmed victims in other parts of the UK include Muhammad Ibrahim Ali, a four-year-old boy from Buckinghamshire, and Hannah Roap, seven, from Wales.
Although low, the number of children in Britain to have died from Strep A is higher than expected for this time of year.
Twenty-seven under-18s died from the bug throughout the entirety of the last bad winter, in 2017/18.
Strep A bacteria can cause a range of other infections, including impetigo, scarlet fever and strep throat.
Data suggests cases of iGAS are already up to five times higher than last winter — which was unusually quiet.
Yet levels seen already this season have surpassed every peak seen in the past six years.
There is usually a surge in iGAS cases every three to four years but social distancing during the Covid pandemic is thought to have interrupted this cycle.
Some experts have suggested that this has left some youngsters with reduced immunity to Strep A — with a high number of children never having encountered the bacteria in their lifetime.
High rates of other respiratory viruses — including flu, RSV and norovirus — may also be putting children at higher risk of co-infections with Strep A, leaving them more susceptible to severe illness, the World Health Organisation said.
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From the ‘bubbly’ seven-year-old whose father desperately tried CPR to save her, to the four-year-old who loved exploring: The victims of Strep A so far
Muhammad Ibrahim Ali
The four-year-old boy attended Oakridge School and Nursery in High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire.
He died at home from a cardiac arrest in mid-November after contracting a Strep A infection.
He was prescribed antibiotics.
His mother Shabana Kousar told the Bucks Free Press: ‘The loss is great and nothing will replace that.
‘He was very helpful around the house and quite adventurous, he loved exploring and enjoyed the forest school, his best day was a Monday and said how Monday was the best day of the week.
Muhammad Ibrahim Ali, who attended Oakridge School and Nursery in High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire, died after contracting the bacterial infection
The ‘bubbly’ and ‘beautiful’ seven-year-old is the only child to have died from Strep A in Wales so far.
Her devastated parents told how their ‘hearts had broken into a million pieces’.
The first signs of the infection were mild. Hannah’s father Abul took his daughter to the GP after a cough got worse overnight.
She was prescribed steroids and sent home, but she died less than 12 hours later.
Mr Roap recalled how he desperately tried to resuscitate his child: ‘She stopped breathing at 8pm but we were not immediately aware because she was sleeping.
‘I did CPR, I tried to revive her but it didn’t work. Paramedics arrived and continued the CPR but it was too late.’
Mr Roap said the family was ‘utterly devastated’ and awaiting answers from the hospital.
The family believe she might have lived if she was initially given antibiotics.
Hanna Roap, who attended Victoria Primary School in Penarth, Wales, died after contracting Strep A last month. Her family say they have been ‘traumatised’ by her death
Five-year-old Stella-Lily McCokindale died following a Strep A infection, the first death from the infection in Northern Ireland.
She died on December 5 at Royal Belfast Hospital.
In a tribute on social media, her father Robert said the pair had ‘loved every minute’ of being together as they went on scooter and bike rides.
‘If prayers, thoughts, feelings and love could have worked she would have walked out of that hospital holding her daddy’s hand,’ he said.
Stella-Lily attended Black Mountain Primary School, which said she was ‘a bright and talented little girl’ and described her death as a ‘tragic loss’.
Five-year-old Stella-Lily McCokindale who attended Black Mountain Primary School in Belfast died in early December after contracting Strep A
Jax Albert Jefferys
A five-year-old boy who died of Strep A was misdiagnosed as having flu, his family has said.
Jax Albert Jefferys, from Waterlooville, Hampshire, died on December 1.
His mother Charlene told how she had sought medical advice three times during the four days leading up to Jax’s death and was told he was suffering from influenza A. She described Jax as a ‘cheeky little chappy’.
Later tests revealed he actually had Strep A.
Jax Albert Jefferys, a five-year-old from Waterlooville, Hampshire, died on , December 1, from Strep A
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