Welsh primary school pupil dies after contracting invasive Strep A

Public Health Wales say severe symptoms extremely rare and it is unlikely other pupils will be affected

A primary school pupil has died after contracting invasive Strep A, Public Health Wales has confirmed.

The authority said the child attended Victoria primary school in Penarth, four miles south of Cardiff, in the Vale of Glamorgan.

It comes just a week after the death of a six-year-old after an outbreak of the same infection at a school in Surrey.

Group A Streptococcus is a type of bacteria sometimes found in the throat or on the skin. It typically causes mild symptoms, such as sore throats or skin infections, but can in rare instances cause a life-threatening illness called invasive Group A Streptococcal disease.

More severe cases occur when the bacteria gets into parts of the body where it is not usually found – such as the blood, muscle or lungs – via an open cut or when a person’s immune system is compromised.

It can also arise after close contact with an infected person.

Symptoms of more serious cases include a temperature above 38C, a sore throat, vomiting, diarrhoea, severe muscle aches, or redness at the site of a wound.

Dr Ardiana Gjini, a communicable disease consultant with Public Health Wales, said it was working with Victoria primary school to raise awareness of the condition.

In a joint statement, the school and Vale of Glamorgan council said: “Earlier this week it was confirmed that a pupil from Victoria primary school had tragically passed away after contracting Strep A.

“Both the school and council would like to pass on their heartfelt condolences to the family at this incredibly difficult time.

“Support is being provided to staff and pupils by the council’s team of educational psychologists.”

It added that it was “unlikely that other pupils will be affected by the illness and severe symptoms are extremely rare”.

“Sensible precautions such as regular hand-washing and not attending school when ill can reduce the risk of infection,” it said.

The child who died last week was a pupil at the Ashford Church of England primary school.

Another pupil, believed to be in the same year group, also contracted the infection and was recovering in hospital, while other pupils and school staff were prescribed antibiotics.


Christy Cooney

The GuardianTramp

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