Group A streptococcal infection – useful information

UPDATE TO PARENTS, GUARDIANS, TEACHERS and SCHOOL NURSES

You may have seen in the news that there has been an increase of Group A streptococcus (strep A) cases.  It is responsible for infections such as tonsillitis, pharyngitis, scarlet fever, impetigo and cellulitis among others.

This is usually a mild illness but can sometimes result in a serious infection.

Look out for symptoms in your child, which include:

  • Sore throat
  • Headache
  • Fever
  • A fine, pinkish or red body rash with a sandpapery feel.
  • On darker skin the rash can be more difficult to detect visually but will have a sandpapery feel.

Currently, there is no evidence that a new strain is circulating.

It’s always concerning when a child is unwell. Strep A infections cause various symptoms such as sore throat, fever, chills and muscle aches.

As a parent, if you feel that your child seems seriously unwell, you should trust your own judgement.

Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health

https://what0-18.nhs.uk/parentscarers/worried-your-child-unwell/scarlet-fever?fbclid=IwAR1sJ2Dy476mQHvdEpwugy3Fv7fUMuotjTFE0q_6zydNfruinsFn7evpm9o

NHSE advice specific to Strep A symptoms and who to contact:

NHS.uk website containing new information on Strep A

Advice for parents / guardians

  • Parents of children with presumed respiratory viral infection should be made aware of features suggestive of secondary bacterial infection, such as clinical deterioration, and when and how to seek further help.
  • Advice for parents on How to Help your Unwell Child can be accessed HERE which includes information on what to do in an emergency.
  • As GAS is spread by close contact with an infected person and can be passed on through coughs and sneezes or from a wound, please encourage parents and children to practice good hand and respiratory hygiene.
  • Parents who need more information can read this blog from UKHSA https://ukhsa.blog.gov.uk/2022/12/05/group-a-strep-what-you-need-to-know/ and are encouraged to use the ‘How to Help your Unwell Child’ information here

 

Contact NHS 111 or your GP if:

  • your child is getting worse
  • your child is feeding or eating much less than normal
  • your child has had a dry nappy for 12 hours or more or shows other signs of dehydration
  • your baby is under 3 months and has a temperature of 38C, or is older than 3 months and has a temperature of 39C or higher
  • your baby feels hotter than usual when you touch their back or chest, or feels sweaty
  • your child is very tired or irritable

Call 999 or go to A&E if:

  • your child is having difficulty breathing – you may notice grunting noises or their tummy sucking under their ribs
  • there are pauses when your child breathes
  • your child’s skin, tongue or lips are blue
  • your child is floppy and will not wake up or stay awake


How can we stop infections from spreading?

Good hand and respiratory hygiene are important for stopping the spread of many bugs. By teaching your child how to wash their hands properly with soap and warm water for 20 seconds, using a tissue to catch coughs and sneezes, and keeping away from others when feeling unwell, they will be able to reduce the risk of picking up, or spreading, infections.

  • The UK Health Security Agency (UKSA) have produced a helpful video that you can view HERE.
  • Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust have created a useful guide for parents and carers of children under five years of age that can be downloaded
  • NHS North West London continuously update its website with information and support materials: https://www.nwlondonics.nhs.uk/