A DEVASTATED family have tragically lost their five-year son to Strep A after they sought medical help three times before he was admitted to hospital.
Jax Albert Jefferys’, who attended Morelands Primary School in Waterlooville, started to feel unwell on November 28.
Paying tribute to their “cheeky little chappy” Jax’s family said they had sought medical advice three times in the four days running up to their son’s in which time he was misdiagnosed with flu.
His grieving mum, Charlene said they ‘”followed the recommended course of action’” and gave him medication, but then his condition worsened.
On December 1, just four days after Jax first started to feel sick, the little boy’s condition “deteriorated so much” they “rushed him to hospital” where he tragically died.
It was only after he died they found out the cause was invasive Strep A, which is rapidly spreading across the UK.
Charlene said: “We would dearly like to express our deepest thanks to all the hospital staff who did their utmost to save Jax.
“We sincerely ask that people respect our privacy at this time as we try to come to terms with our loss.”
UK Health Security Agency figures show 16 UK children have died after invasive strep A infections since September.
Government figures suggest Group A Strep infections are four times higher than normal among children aged between one and four.
The pandemic lockdown is being blamed for the outbreak because children were shuttered away — creating a lower immunity to infections.
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.
Meanwhile, tests for Strep A have largely sold out online after thousands of worried parents stripped the shelves.
Difference between flu and Strep A
When it comes to the symptoms of flu and Strep A, they can be very similar. so it’s important to know what to look out for.
There are four key signs of Group Strep A to watch out for, according to the NHS. These are:
- A fever (meaning a high temperature above 38°C)
- Severe muscle aches
- Localised muscle tenderness
- Redness at the site of a wound
When it comes to symptoms of flu, they may at first, seem like a common cold.
The NHS list the symptoms for flu as follows:
- sudden high temperature
- aching body
- feeling tired or exhausted
- a dry cough
- sore throat
- difficulty sleeping
- loss of appetite
- diarrhoea or tummy pain
- feeling or being sick
- less active (specifically children)
- pain in the ear (specifically children)
Dr Conall Watson, Consultant Epidemiologist at the UK Health Security Agency said that with winter upon us, flu is circulating more widely.
“The NHS frontline has already delivered millions of vaccines to those most at risk from what can be a deadly virus.
“With Christmas fast approaching, if you are eligible and have not yet been vaccinated, it can take a fortnight or so for the flu vaccine to provide protection.
“Nobody wants to see their loved ones be sick or in hospital with flu over Christmas, so to ensure your family are ready to enjoy the festive season together don’t hesitate and book your vaccine today,” he added.
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