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Urgent warning amid fears kids are being hit by Strep A and deadly viruses at same time

KIDS who catch viruses are more at risk of developing the potentially deadly Strep A, which is sweeping the country.

It comes as nine children have died of the invasive form of the disease during the recent outbreak.

Several killer respiratory viruses are currently on the rise among kids
Health bosses might dish out antibiotics to all at schools affected by Strep A infections

The bug can cause many health issues, most of which are mild. They can include scarlet fever, tonsillitis and, very rarely, invasive group A streptococcal disease (iGAS).

Paediatrician, Prof Adam Finn from the University of Bristol told Radio 4 that those kids already infected with viruses could be more at risk to developing the severe form of the disease.

“Virial infection enable bacteria to be more virulent (extremely deadly),” he explained.

“And we’ve currently seeing lots of viral infections,” the expert said.

Experts have found that children who are suffering with the invasive form of the disease are carrying other viruses, Prof Adam said.

Several killer respiratory viruses are currently on the rise among kids, the flu and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV).

England’s top nurse also warned that hospital wards across the country are full of kids battling the illnesses.

Two of the most severe examples of invasive group A Strep are necrotising fasciitis – a very rare but life-threatening infection also called ‘flesh-eating disease’ – and toxic shock syndrome.

Nine children under 13 have reportedly died of this disease in recent weeks.

Among them are four-year-old Muhammad Ibrahim Ali from Buckinghamshire and Hanna Roap, seven, from South Wales.

Hanna’s father, Hasan, said: “We’re just numb, we don’t know what to do. As a family, we are traumatised and devastated.”

Camila Rose Burns, four, is fighting for her life on a ventilator in Liverpool.

The dad, who described the pain his family is feeling as “the worst in the world”, is now urging parents to look out for the signs and act quickly.

Health bosses are considering dishing out antibiotics to all children at schools affected by Strep A infections.

However, there is currently a shortage of two frontline antibiotics used to treat the infection.

In response to the outbreak, Downing Street yesterday said it can “fully understand” that parents are concerned by rising Strep A cases, but stressed the NHS is “well prepared” for such situations.

The Prime Minister’s official spokesman said: “We are seeing a higher number of cases of Group A strep this year compared to usual.

“The bacteria we know causes a mild infection which is easily treated with antibiotics and in rare circumstances it can get into the bloodstream and cause serious illness.

“It is still uncommon but it’s important parents are on the lookout for symptoms.

“But the NHS is well prepared to deal with situations like this, working with the UK Health Security Agency.”

He said any parents who are concerned should contact the NHS.

The Covid pandemic lockdown is being blamed for the outbreak because children were shuttered away – creating a lower immunity to infections.

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