Unfortunately we are seeing some deaths related to Strep A in the UK at the moment. The following is some basic information about the infection that you should be aware of.
Strep A is formally known as Group A streptococcus (GAS). GAS is a common bacteria, which causes a range of infections including scarlet fever. These infections are usually mild.
GAS can also cause a rare, more serious infection called invasive group A strep (iGAS). This happens when GAS bacteria get into parts of the body such as the lungs or bloodstream, where they cause serious disease. iGAS is a form of sepsis and you should take immediate action by calling 999 if your child shows any of the symptoms listed under the ‘Call 999 or go to A&E’ section below.
What is scarlet fever?
Scarlet fever is an illness that mainly affects children. It usually follows a sore throat or a skin infection, such as impetigo, caused by some of streptococcus bacteria. It’s important to be aware of the signs and symptoms of scarlet fever so that early treatment with antibiotics can be given quickly:
Contact NHS 111 or your GP if you suspect your child has scarlet fever, because early treatment with antibiotics is important to reduce the risk of complications, such as pneumonia or a bloodstream infection.
If your child has scarlet fever, keep them at home until at least 24 hours after the start of antibiotic treatment to avoid spreading the infection to others.
What to do if you’re worried
As a parent, if you feel that your child seems seriously unwell, you should trust your own judgement.
Contact NHS 111 or your GP if:
Call 999 or go to A&E if:
How to prevent GAS bacteria spreading
GAS is spread by close contact with an infected person and can be passed on through coughs and sneezes or from a wound.
Good hygiene practice such as hand washing remains the most important step in preventing and controlling spread of infection.
A negative throat swab is not required for children to attend childcare, however children and adults with suspected scarlet fever should be kept away from nursery/ school/ work for 24 hours after the start of appropriate antibiotic treatment.
Send an enquiry to our friendly Healthy Sandwell team.