Scottish Strep A cases confirmed amid deaths in England and Wales

Public Health Scotland confirmed the case numbers but say there have been no recorded deaths.

Public Health Scotland confirm eight cases of Strep A in children but no deaths, amid outbreaks in England iStock

There have been eight cases of Group A Streptococcus in children under 10 in Scotland, amid a string of deaths in England.

Public Health Scotland (PHS) confirmed the case numbers but say there have been no recorded deaths from the infection.

It comes as health officials in England confirmed five children have died after contracting Strep A and a further death has been confirmed in Wales.

The latest death was of a child with an invasive bacterial infection who attended St John’s School in Ealing, west London.

It follows the deaths of two others from primary schools in Penarth, Vale of Glamorgan, and in Ashford, Surrey.

Last month, a four-year-old boy from High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire also died with Strep A.

The bacterial infection, commonly found in the throat, is often symptomless and is said to increase during the winter months.

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.

Group A Streptococcal (GAS) infection can cause scarlet fever.

A PHS spokesperson said: “Bacterial infection caused by Group A Streptococcus (GAS) tends to increase during the winter season and has been increasing as expected since the beginning of October. 

“Incidence is usually highest in those under the age of 10 years.

“The infection is usually diagnosed by development of a characteristic skin rash with accompanying high temperature (Scarlet Fever) and confirmed in the laboratory through submission of a throat swab. Cases with this infection respond promptly to early treatment with antibiotics.

“In Scotland, PHS report the number of positive throat swabs for GAS as a proxy measure of Scarlet Fever (Scarlet Fever has not been a Statutory Notifiable infection since 2008 so there are no Official Statistics on this clinical infection).

“Whilst GAS infections, including Scarlet Fever may be common, progression to the most severe manifestations – Invasive Group A Streptococcal (IGAS) infections are rare.

“It takes time to collect and report all investigations in IGAS cases so data is subject to revision on cases numbers and mortality. Thus far this season (since beginning October 2022), PHS has received report of eight IGAS cases in children under the age of 10 years. There have been no reported deaths in this age group in Scotland this season.”

The UKHSA said that scarlet fever is a mild illness and the GAS bacteria that cause it only rarely become invasive, known as Invasive Group A Streptococcal (IGAS).

The NHS recommends people see their GP if a sore throat does not improve after a week, if they are worried or if they have a high temperature, or feel hot and shivery.

People with weakened immune systems such as those having chemotherapy should also see a doctor.

STV News is now on WhatsApp

Get all the latest news from around the country

Follow STV News
Follow STV News on WhatsApp

Scan the QR code on your mobile device for all the latest news from around the country

WhatsApp channel QR Code