Strep A: Public health bosses in Yorkshire issue Strep A advice to parents

A director of public health in Yorkshire has issued advice to parents following the deaths of 19 children from invasive Strep A disease.

Strep A outbreaks have been reported in schools and hospitals throughout the UK, with pharmacies battling localised shortages of antibiotics, leaving parents struggling to find medicine for their sick children. Symptoms of a strep A infection include flu-like symptoms, such as a high temperature, swollen glands or an aching body sore throat, a rash that feels rough like sandpaper, scabs, and sores.

Julia Burrows, executive director for public health and communities at Barnsley Council has issued advice to parents about preventing and managing Strep A infections.

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Ms Burrows said: “Group A Streptococcus (GAS) infection is caused by a common bacteria that many of us carry in our throats and on our skin, and it doesn’t always cause illness. However, GAS does cause a number of infections, some mild and some more serious. For some, it will cause a high temperature and sore throat (tonsillitis).

Strep A advice has been issued by public health bosses in South YorkshireStrep A advice has been issued by public health bosses in South Yorkshire
Strep A advice has been issued by public health bosses in South Yorkshire

“For a very small number, it will cause a sandpaper rash and red strawberry tongue (scarlet fever). In very rare circumstances, this bacteria can get into the bloodstream and cause serious illness. There are lots of winter bugs circulating that can make your child feel unwell, that mostly aren’t cause for alarm.

“Washing your hands properly with soap and warm water for 20 seconds, using a tissue to catch coughs and sneezes, and keeping away from others when feeling unwell, will reduce the risk of picking up, or spreading, infections.

“As a parent or carer, if you feel that your child seems seriously unwell, you should trust your own judgement and make sure you talk to a health professional if your child is showing signs of deteriorating after a bout of scarlet fever, a sore throat, or a respiratory infection.

“Further information is available on the UK Health Security Agency and the NHS websites.”