PHARMACISTS are warning parents there are no Strep A antibiotics in some parts of the country, as the government continues to insist there are no shortages.
This comes as the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) announced that 16 kids have died from the bug since September.
Pharmacists struggling to get the drugs told The Sun they fear real ongoing shortages mean some children are missing out on life-saving medications.
One parent of a child who died believes her seven-year-old daughter would still be alive if she had been given the right treatment.
Supplies of two first line treatments: phenoxymethylpenicillin, or penicillin V and amoxicillin are patchy across the country, according to the medicine experts.
Some pharmacists are also finding it impossible to get hold of clarithromycin, which is used for children and adults with a penicillin allergy and azithromycin, another treatment for the bug.
Sri Kanaparthy, whose pharmacy is in Durham, told The Sun he had been forced turn away two patients with the antibiotic prescriptions as he struggles to get enough of the drugs into his store.
“Unless the Government start to acknowledge this shortage and work towards resolving it, we are sadly going to see more preventable deaths in the coming weeks,” he said.
It comes as GPs have been told to lower the threshold for prescribing antibiotics to kids presenting with symptoms of group A streptococcal infections.
An increase in demand in certain areas of the country following a surge in infections has left some medicine wholesalers struggling to replenish stocks quick enough, a the community pharmacists’ representative body explained.
This Sun map shows where in the country outbreaks of the bug are currently taking place.
“[Antibiotics supply] is expect to improve next week,” the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee said.
Sir Stephen Powis, medical director of NHS England, told BBC’s Sunday with Laura Kuenssberg: “We have plenty of antibiotics. We have asked people to prescribe them a little bit earlier and the Government is working with wholesalers.
“The supply chain works really well, I expect we will be seeing those supplies coming out to pharmacies as we speak.”
Group A Streptococcus — Streptococcus pyogenes — is a bacteria that can cause mild illness.
This can include sore throats and skin infections, alongside tonsillitis, cellulitis, and scarlet fever, which is flu-like and tends to occur in children – it can be serious if not treated swiftly with antibiotics.
In rare cases, the bacteria can trigger invasive Group Strep A disease, which can prove life-threatening and even fatal.
There has been an increase in cases this year, particularly in children under the age of 10.
Meanwhile, tests for Strep A have largely sold out online after thousands of worried parents stripped the shelves.
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