Strep A infection
This is why doctors and experts around the world are so concerned about strep A infection.
UK health officials have issued a stark warning that the spread of the aggressive Strep A infection, which has killed six children, is now four times higher than it was before the Covid outbreak.
Following the tragic death of six children, health officials in the UK are warning parents and schools to be on the lookout for strep A infection.
Since COVID-19 restrictions in the UK such as wearing masks and social distancing are no longer necessary, infections such as Strep A are spreading more easily and the number of cases has increased over the past month.
Strep A bacterial infections are often minor, but they can cause serious illness.
Although invasive group A strep is still rare, more cases have been reported this year, especially among children under the age of 10.
Here’s What You Need to Know About Strep A Infection
Strep A Infection – What is it?
Bacteria usually cause tonsillitis, also known as strep throat or scarlet fever. In severe cases, the bacteria can cause invasive group A strep (iGAS), which is a more severe form of the disease.
This occurs when the bacteria travel beyond common areas of infection, such as the respiratory tract, and get into the blood, where it can cause sepsis, shock, or meningitis in the worst cases.
How common is strep A bacterial infection?
According to figures from the UK Health Protection Agency (UKHSA), there were 0.5 cases of IGAS per 100,000 persons in children aged one to four during the pre-pandemic period. But now the number is two per 100,000, which is four times higher.
This increased from 0.3 per 100,000 to more than one per 100,000 for children between the ages of five and nine, an increase of more than three times.
In recent months, there has also been an increase in cases of scarlet fever, a different disease still caused by the same bacteria.
According to official figures, there were 851 cases of scarlet fever in the most recent week, which is four and a half times more than the average (186) cases in the same week before the pandemic.
What symptoms should you be looking for?
Strep A can cause a variety of symptoms, such as a sore throat or skin infection, that can range from mild to severe but is not fatal for most people who become infected.
- fever (a high temperature above 38C)
- severe muscle pain
- sore throat or skin infection
But strep A can also cause many different problems, some more serious than others.
Scarlet fever is one of them, which usually affects young children.
According to the UKHSA, anyone who has a “high fever, severe muscle pain, pain in one area of the body and unexplained vomiting or diarrhoea” should “seek medical help immediately”.
Scarlet fever: what is it?
It causes a rash as well as symptoms that are similar to the flu, such as fever, sore throat, and swollen glands in the neck.
Strep A: Is It Dangerous and What Makes an Infection More Serious?
In very rare cases, strep A can also cause a disease referred to as invasive group A streptococcal disease, or IGAS for short.
In a recent advisory, health officials warned that children who have just recovered from the flu or chickenpox are at higher risk of developing a severe case of strep A, such as IGAS.
This can happen if the body’s immune system is weak or if bacteria can quickly enter the body through an open wound.
It is easier for the invasive type of disease to develop when chickenpox produces sores that bacteria can use to enter the circulation.
For flu, the virus damages the respiratory system and alters the immune system. This makes it easier for bacteria to spread to deeper areas where they can do more damage.
According to statistics compiled by the UK Health Protection Agency (UKHSA), 3.1 people will develop iGAS for every 100,000 incidences of scarlet fever.
Experts worry that due to the lockdown measures imposed during the pandemic, other seasonal diseases are now spreading at a much higher rate than the virus itself.
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