Another FIVE kids die of Strep A as UK’s death toll hits 24
- UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) figures show 21 kids in England have died
- Two children in Wales and one in Northern Ireland have also died from Strep A
- Victims include Muhammad Ibrahim Ali, a four-year-old from Buckinghamshire
- Read: What are the symptoms? How does it spread? Everything you should know
Another five children have died from Strep A as the bug continues to sweep post-lockdown Britain.
UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) data shows 21 kids in England have died from the usually-mild bacterial infection.
Two children in Wales and one in Northern Ireland have also lost their lives, taking the UK’s death toll so far this winter to 24.
Victims include Muhammad Ibrahim Ali, a four-year-old boy from Buckinghamshire, and Hannah Roap, seven, from Wales.
What is Strep A?
Group A Streptococcus (Group A Strep or Strep A) bacteria can cause many different infections.
The bacteria are commonly found in the throat and on the skin, and some people have no symptoms.
Infections caused by Strep A range from minor illnesses to serious and deadly diseases.
They include the skin infection impetigo, scarlet fever and strep throat.
While the vast majority of infections are relatively mild, sometimes the bacteria cause an illness called invasive Group A Streptococcal disease.
READ MAILONLINE’S FULL Q&A ON STREP A.
Although low, Britain’s Strep A kid death toll is higher than expected for this time of year.
Twenty-seven under-18s died from the bug throughout the entirety of the last bad winter, in 2017/18.
Strep A bacteria can cause a range of other infections, including impetigo, scarlet fever and strep throat.
While the vast majority of infections are relatively mild, in exceptionally rare cases the bacteria can cause invasive Group A Streptococcal (iGAS).
Two of the most severe forms of this invasive disease are necrotising fasciitis and streptococcal toxic shock syndrome. Both can kill.
Data suggests cases of iGAS are already up to five times higher than last winter — which was unusually quiet.
Yet levels seen already this season have surpassed every peak seen in the past six years.
There is usually a surge in iGAS cases every three to four years but social distancing during the Covid pandemic is thought to have interrupted this cycle.
This has left some youngsters with reduced immunity to Strep A — with a high number of children never having encountered the bacteria in their lifetime — some have suggested.
High rates of other respiratory viruses — including flu, RSV and norovirus — may also be putting children at higher risk of co-infections with Strep A, leaving them more susceptible to severe illness, the WHO said.
Dr Colin Brown, deputy director, UKHSA, said: ‘I understand how this large rise in scarlet fever and ‘strep throat’ may be concerning to parents.
‘However the condition can be easily treated with antibiotics and it is very rare that a child will go on to become more seriously ill.
‘Most winter illnesses can be managed at home and NHS.UK has information to help parents look after children with mild illness.
‘NHS services are under huge pressure this winter, but please visit NHS.UK, contact 111 online or your GP surgery if your child has symptoms of scarlet fever or ‘strep throat’ so they can be assessed for treatment.’
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From the ‘bubbly’ seven-year-old whose father desperately tried CPR to save, to the four-year-old who loved exploring: The victims of Strep A so far
Muhammad Ibrahim Ali
The four-year-old boy attended Oakridge School and Nursery in High Wycombe, Bucks.
He died at home from a cardiac arrest in mid-November after contracting a Strep A infection.
He was prescribed antibiotics.
His mother Shabana Kousar told the Bucks Free Press: ‘The loss is great and nothing will replace that.
‘He was very helpful around the house and quite adventurous, he loved exploring and enjoyed the forest school, his best day was a Monday and said how Monday was the best day of the week.
Muhammad Ibrahim Ali, who attended Oakridge School and Nursery in High Wycombe, Bucks, died after contracting the bacterial infection
The ‘bubbly’ and ‘beautiful’ seven-year-old is the only child to have died from Strep A in Wales so far.
Her devastated parents told how their ‘hearts had broken into a million pieces’.
The first signs of the infection were mild, Hanna’s father Abul took his daughter to the GP after cough got worse overnight.
She was prescribed steroids and sent home, but she died less than 12 hours later.
Mr Roap recalled how he desperately tried to resuscitate his child: ‘She stopped breathing at 8pm but we were not immediately aware because she was sleeping.
‘I did CPR, I tried to revive her but it didn’t work. Paramedics arrived and continued the CPR but it was too late.’
Mr Roap said the family was ‘utterly devastated’ and awaiting answers from the hospital.
The family believe she might have lived if she was initially given antibiotics.
Hanna Roap, who attended Victoria Primary School in Penarth, Wales, died after contracting Strep A last month. Her family say they have been ‘traumatised’ by her death
Five-year-old Stella-Lily McCokindale is the ninth British child to have died following a Strep A infection, and the first in Northern Ireland.
She died on December 5 at Royal Belfast Hospital.
In a tribute on social media, her father Robert said the pair had ‘loved every minute’ of being together as they went on scooter and bike rides.
‘If prays, thoughts, feelings and love could of worked she would of walked out of that hospital holding her daddy’s hand,’ he said.
Stella attended Black Mountain Primary School, who said she was ‘a bright and talented little girl’ and described her death as a ‘tragic loss’.
Five-year-old Stella-Lily McCokindale who attended Black Mountain Primary School in Belfast died in early December after contracting Strep A
Jax Albert Jefferys
A five-year-old boy who died of Strep A was misdiagnosed as having flu, his family has claimed.
Jax Albert Jefferys, from Waterlooville, Hampshire, died on Thursday, December 1 — becoming one of 16 British children to have died of the usually-mild bug so far this winter.
His grieving mother Charlene today told how she had sought medical advice three times during the four days leading up to Jax’s death and was told he was suffering from influenza A. She described Jax as a ‘cheeky, little chappy’.
But later tests revealed he actually had Step A, she said, which is spreading rapidly across Britain.
Jax Albert Jefferys, a five-year-old from Waterlooville, Hampshire, died on Thursday, December 1, from Strep A
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