Strep A cases confirmed at two Bristol primary schools plus a nursery

Case numbers are much higher this year

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Several cases of Group A Streptococcus (Strep A) have been confirmed at primary schools and a nursery in Bristol - as latest figures show there have been at least 65 cases across the South West.

Strep A is described by the UK Health Security Agency as a common bacteria which can cause a number of infections - some mild, and some more serious. In very rare occasions, the bacteria can get into the bloodstream and cause a potentially deadly infection called invasive Group A Strep (iGAS).

Nationally, case numbers of Strep A, which also causes scarlet fever, are much higher this year compared to averages in previous years. Experts suggest this could be down to last year’s period being a time when pandemic control measures were in place.

In the South West,there were 65 cases of iGAS in the South West from September 12 to December 4, and tragically four deaths - all adults.

As for Strep A, in recent days a number of cases have been confirmed, particularly in schools. At Begbrook Primary Academy in Kingswood, leaders have been told of three positive Strep A cases involving pupils.

At Bailey’s Court Primary School in Bradley Stoke one child was confirmed to have had Strep A. And at Ilminster Avenue Nursery School in Knowle West ‘a number of children’ have been diganosed with Strep A.

A spokesperson at Cabot Learning Federation, which runs Begbrook Primary, said: “Begbrook Primary Academy has recently received confirmation of three positive Strep A cases involving pupils. With regard to the recent spike in childhood illnesses, the academy is following the national guidance and the advice from the local Health Protection Team.

“The academy has prepared carefully for this situation and is ensuring that all parents remain informed, both of the situation in school and the official advice to parents from the Health Protection Team. The Academy has rigorously enacted the control measures advised in the national guidance to keep everyone in the community safe and limit any potential spread, and will continue to work proactively in the best interests of all in our community.”

The UKHSA is asking parents to look out for symptoms with their children, which include a sore throat, fever, chills and muscle aches. Schools where outbreaks occur are bein gaksed to make sure children and employees that are ill go home and don’t return until they are well.

They must also tell parents and visitors about the cases of illnesses.

Dr Colin Brown, Deputy Director, UKHSA, said: “Very rarely, the bacteria can get into the bloodstream and cause more serious illness called invasive group A strep. We know that this is concerning for parents, but I want to stress that while we are seeing an increase in cases in children, this remains very uncommon.

“There are lots of winter bugs circulating that can make your child feel unwell, that mostly aren’t cause for alarm. However, make sure you talk to a health professional if your child is getting worse after a bout of scarlet fever, a sore throat or respiratory infection – look out for signs such as a fever that won’t go down, dehydration, extreme tiredness and difficulty breathing.”

For more information on the Strep A, visit the UK Health Security Agency website here.

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