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As 2 children die in bacterial outbreak at school – the 12 symptoms no parent should ignore

TWO children have now died after contracting invasive strep A, health bodies have said.

Public Health Wales said the pupil had attended Victoria Primary School in Penarth, four miles south of Cardiff.

Scarlet fever is caused by bacteria known as group A streptococcus
The bug is responsible for 15 to 40 per cent of sore throats among children

Dr Gjini said Public Health Wales is working with the school to raise awareness about the disease, suggesting people familiarise themselves with the symptoms of fever, sore throat, severe muscle aches and redness at the site of a wound.

It comes after the death of a six-year-old child following an outbreak of the bacterial infection at a school in Surrey last week.

The girl who died is thought to have been a Year 1 pupil at the Ashford Church of England Primary School in Ashford, Surrey.

The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) has now been notified of two cases of Strep A in Year 1 and Year 6 at nearby Echelford School – while a third pupil has closely-related condition scarlet fever.

The health body had offered pupils and staff antibiotics following the death.

A letter is understood to have been sent to all parents of kids at Echelford, informing them they had switched off drinking water fountains and were monitoring pupils carefully.

The bacteria – also known as strep throat – usually causes a sore throat or skin rash and is passed by physical contact or through droplets from sneezing or coughing.

It is responsible for 15 to 40 per cent of sore throats among children, and five to 15 per cent among adults.

The bacteria can often cause scarlet fever which can be extremely serious if not treated with antibiotics.

Cases of the dangerous Victorian disease have surged in recent weeks and parents have been warned to be on the lookout for symptoms.

Outbreaks often occur in late winter and early spring, but it is a risk all year round.

In response to the child’s death in Ashford, Dr Claire Winslade, health protection consultant at UKHSA South East, said: “We are extremely saddened to hear about the death of a pupil at Ashford Church of England School, and our thoughts are with their family, friends and the school community.

“As a precautionary measure, we have recommended antibiotics to pupils and staff in the same year groups as the individuals affected.

“We have provided advice to the school to help prevent further cases and will continue to monitor the situation.

“Information has been shared with parents about the signs and symptoms of iGAS, which include high fever with severe muscle aches, pain in one area of the body and unexplained vomiting or diarrhoea. Anyone with these symptoms should call NHS111 immediately.”

She added: “Infection with Group A Streptococcus bacterium usually causes a sore throat or skin rash and is passed by physical contact or through droplets from sneezing or coughing.

“In very rare cases, the infection can become invasive and enter parts of the body where bacteria aren’t normally found, which can be serious.”

The 12 symptoms of scarlet fever

According to the NHS the typical signs and symptoms include:

  1. sore throat
  2. skin infection, including blisters or impetigo
  3. high temperature
  4. headache
  5. flushed cheeks
  6. large pink or red rash on the skin, which is often itchy and feels like sandpaper
  7. swollen neck glands
  8. loss of appetite
  9. nausea or vomiting
  10. red lines in the folds of the body, such as the armpit, which may last a couple of days after the rash has gone
  11. a white coating on the tongue, which peels a few days later leaving the tongue red and swollen (this is known as strawberry tongue)
  12. a general feeling of being unwell

It affects mostly young children, and can now be easily treated with antibiotics.

However, in rare cases, it can cause complications – ranging from ear infections, to pneumonia, meningitis and rheumatic fever.

What to do if you or your child has scarlet fever

In the past, cases of scarlet fever could be extremely serious.

Thankfully, modern day instances are often mild and can easily be treated with antibiotics.

Parents are advised to book an appointment for their children at their local GP if they notice symptoms of the bacterial bug.

If diagnosed, sufferers will be prescribed a course of liquid antibiotics, which are to be taken for ten days.

Symptoms often clear up within two weeks, but there can be complications of scarlet fever.

There is a small risk of the infection spreading to other parts of the body, causing ear infection, sinusitis or pneumonia.

It’s advisable to return to your GP as soon as possible if you’re affected by headache, vomiting or diarrhoea after the initial scarlet fever symptoms have cleared up.



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