Concern is growing over Strep A cases in the United Kingdom after an eighth child is reported to have died after contracting an invasive form of the Strep A bacteria.
Morelands Primary, in Waterlooville in the English county of Hampshire, reportedly said it is “absolutely devastated” by the loss of one of its pupils.
The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) said it will not comment on individual cases.
As reported by the BBC, Morelands Primary School headteacher 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.”
Simon Bryant, director of public health at Hampshire County Council, reportedly said the authority is “working closely with the school to raise awareness amongst parents and carers of the signs and symptoms of Group A Streptococcal infections”.
He added: “I would stress that contracting [this] disease from another person is very rare.
“Most people who come into contact with Group A Streptococcal infections remain well and symptom-free – and therefore there is no reason for children to be kept home if well.”
Online NHS information suggests Strep A infections such as scarlet fever can be treated with the antibiotics penicillin and amoxicillin.
Asked this afternoon about the recent rise in cases, UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s official spokesman said: “We are seeing a higher number of cases of Group A strep this year compared to usual.
“The bacteria we know causes a mild infection which is easily treated with antibiotics and in rare circumstances it can get into the bloodstream and cause serious illness.
“It is still uncommon but it’s important parents are on the lookout for symptoms.