More deaths said to be ‘likely to happen’ as the outbreak continues to spread.
So far, an outbreak of the Strep A Bacteria has caused the deaths of at least 19 children in the Uk. The outbreak has run rampant across the country with hospitals being overwhelmed by new cases being sent in every day. So far over 23,000 cases have been reported and that number just keeps growing.
NHS 111 have reported a huge increase in calls from concerned parents amid the outbreak with their call volumes being up by at least 60%. Public Health Wales have launched a new symptom checker to help parents spot the signs of Strep A. This was designed to aid parents in deciding when it is safe to treat their child at home and when they should seek medical advice. It is hoped that this system will also relieve some of the pressure off of the healthcare service, at what is already the busiest time of year.
Schools all across Bedfordshire have been sending out letters to parents to warn them of the outbreak happening, as cases have been popping up in their own classrooms. They are being advised to watch out for any of the tell tale symptoms and being informed on what to do if their child is at risk.
To try and calm some concerns Bedfordshire hospital released a statement about the out break saying the following. “Winter is usually the time that we see lots of viruses that cause sore throats, colds and coughs circulating. These usually resolve without needing any special medical treatment or medicines. However, children can occasionally develop a bacterial infection on top of a virus and that can make them more unwell. One of these bacteria is called Group A Strep (GAS). You may have heard this in the news recently, as it has been found in some children who have become very sick, very quickly. Fortunately, this is still quite rare. There is much more GAS around this winter than in recent years, causing a lot of children to be unwell. The increase is most likely related to high amounts of circulating bacteria and social mixing and these bugs are new to many young children, so they are more likely to catch and spread them. GAS usually causes a mild illness with fever and a sore throat (Strep throat) but not a runny nose or too much of a cough. Your child may be poorly for a few days but will usually recover. Antibiotics may help them recover quicker.
They go on to say that although it is rare there is a chance that some children can get more unwell from the Strep a virus and that parents should trust their own judgment when it comes to getting their child treated by a health care professional. They also warm that you should try your best to keep sick children away from other children and vulnerable people.
Although people are doing their best to try and curb fears, unfortunately for some that just isn’t seeming to help. As more and more cases are racking up and the death toll gets higher, parents and carers worries are increasing. They are scared that their child could be next.
We spoke to Sarah Criddle from Flitwick, who has a granddaughter that attends a local school in Bedfordshire. Sarah told us about how has seen first hand how the rise of Strep a cases is affecting her local area, and she told us her thoughts on the outbreak.
If you or any of your family are worried about the strep A virus, you can look on the NHS Website for all of the symptoms to look out for. They have a great tool that you can use that will give you all the advice you need as to whether you should treat your child at home, or take them to seek treatment with a healthcare professional.
The NHS website warns that you need to attend A&E or call 999 if your child exhibits any of these symptoms
Difficulty breathing, For example if their chest or upper tummy is being sucked to their ribs with every breath or if they are making grunting noises with every breath.
There are pauses when your child breathes
Your Childs skin, lips or tongue are blue or grey. On darker skin this will be easier to see on the hands or feet or inside the mouth
Your child is floppy and will not wake up or stay awake.