Third child under ten dies from Strep A infection in Scotland

Public Health Scotland confirmed 17 people had died among invasive Group A Streptococcus cases between October 3 and January 15.

Third child dies from Strep A infection in Scotland amid NHS pressure iStock

A third child aged under ten in Scotland has died with Strep A infection, Public Health Scotland has said.

The agency said it is aware of 17 deaths among invasive group A streptococcal infections (iGAS) cases between October 3 and January 15, an increase of four deaths since the previous report.

Three of these deaths were in children under ten years of age, an increase of one since last week’s report.

Public Health Scotland said this compares with between zero and 15 deaths reported during the same time period of previous years.

READ MORE: What is Strep A and what symptoms should parents look for?

An urgent warning was sent out to parents before their children went back to school following a surge in Strep A cases.

The current death toll in the UK for kids sits at 30, since the season started mid September.

The latest data comes after the Scottish Government issued a supply alert notice for the antibiotics used to treat the bacterial infection in December.

Pharmacists were warned that a serious increase in demand for the medications may mean they are “temporarily in limited supply at certain wholesalers and pharmacies”.

They were advised to prescribe tablet or capsules to preserve stocks of liquid antibiotics, after parents raised concerns that they were unable to get liquid preparations for their children.

Professor Susan Hopkins, chief medical adviser at the UK Health Security Agency, said: “It’s important to minimise the spread of infection in schools and other education and childcare settings as much as possible,” she said.

“If your child is unwell and has a fever, they should stay home from school or nursery until they feel better and the fever has resolved.

“Helping children to learn about the importance of good hand hygiene is also key, so practise regular handwashing at home with soap and warm water. Catching coughs and sneezes in tissues then binning them is another simple way to help stop illness from spreading.

“Adults should also try to stay home when unwell and if you do have to go out, wear a face covering. When unwell, don’t visit healthcare settings unless urgent, or visit vulnerable people.”