GPs told to prescribe more antibiotics as Strep A toll rises to 8

Dr Hilary lists 'red flag symptoms' of Strep A

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In a letter to GPs, the UK Health Security Agency urged them to set “a low threshold” for giving the drugs due to the high number of cases. Strep A infections are usually mild and easily treated but in rare cases, they can develop into more serious invasive Group A Strep (iGAS).

Eight children have died from the latest outbreak in the last few months.

Among the most recent was a 12-year-old boy from London who was the first secondary school pupil.

And a child at Morelands Primary School in Waterlooville, Hants, has also died, it was revealed yesterday.

Another of the victims was seven-year-old Hanna Roap who died within 24 hours of falling ill.

The youngster, from Penarth near Cardiff, came home from school with a mild cough. Within hours she was rushed to the hospital after she stopped moving.

Her father Hasan Roap, 37, said: “We’re just numb, we don’t know what to do. As a family, we are traumatised and devastated.”

He added: “My gut instinct is if she had antibiotics she would have been OK. But I’m not a medical professional, so I took what the GP said.”

Mr Roap described his daughter as “a bubbly character who was always up to mischief”. He added: “It is dead silence now in the house.” Downing Street yesterday urged parents to be on the lookout for symptoms. Signs include fever, severe muscle aches, pain in one area of the body and redness at the site of a wound.

The Prime Minister’s official spokesman said: “The bacteria we know causes a mild infection which is easily treated with antibiotics and in rare circumstances, it can get into the bloodstream and cause serious illness.” Asked about supplies of drugs used to treat the infection, the spokesman added: “It’s important to reassure parents that there is no current shortage as far as we’re aware.”

Professor Johnjoe McFadden, expert in molecular genetics at the University of Surrey, said it was important to treat infections early.

Parents and teachers should be aware of symptoms including a bad headache, fever and a fine pinkish or red body rash with a sandpapery feel.

He added: “If a child has any of these symptoms, they should immediately get in touch with their GP.

“Otherwise, encouraging good hygiene at home and in the classroom with frequent hand washing is the best defence. But bear in mind that invasive Strep A infections are very rare. So there is no need to panic.”

We just want our girl back, says father

A shattered father says Strep A has “devastated” the body of his four-year-old daughter, as she fights for her life, writes Chris Riches.

Camila Rose Burns, of Bolton, Greater Manchester, is on a ventilator at Alder Hey Children’s Hospital, Liverpool, after falling ill just over a week ago.

Yesterday, her father Dean Burns said: “We cannot believe it has happened. The pain is unimaginable. She is so beautiful, so precious and just our special little girl. We just want our family back.”

And her aunt Laura Daniels said: “We are praying Camila can fight this but it’s a very long road ahead.”

Camila first showed mild symptoms on Saturday but by Sunday she was listless and vomiting and her family took her to a Bolton hospital. They waited six hours in A&E but were sent home with steroids and an inhaler.

Doctors blamed vomiting for her chest pain. “They thought it was a sickness bug, so we took her home,” said Dean. But by Monday morning Camila’s condition had worsened. After rushing her back to A&E, Dean was told it had progressed into iGAS [invasive Group A Strep] which went straight into her bloodstream.

Camila was then transferred to Alder Hey. Doctors later told Dean his daughter was “the poorliest girl in the whole of England”. Laura said the situation has had a devastating impact on Camila’s sister Florence, five, and brother Alfie, 15, “whose worlds have turned upside down”.

A GoFundMe crowdfunding page set up by Laura to support Dean and mum Kaye so they can stay at Camila’s bedside, has so far raised £20,000.

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