Strep A in Lancashire updates as new cases confirmed at nurseries and schools in Chorley, South Ribble, Poulton, Morecambe and East Lancs
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Lancaster Road Nursery in Morecambe said a child in its 2-3 years group tested positive for the infection on Tuesday (December 6).
It added that more children in other classrooms are also showing symptoms.
A spokesman for the nursery said: “We have had a child from our nursery test positive for Strep A today (December 6).
"We are making sure to do extra hand washing and cleaning to help prevent different germs spreading.”
The nursery remains open but parents are being urged to keep children with symptoms at home to reduce the risk of infection.
To date, at least nine children across the UK have died from complications reportedly caused by the Strep A infection.
Other confirmed cases in Lancashire
St Oswald's R.C. Primary and Nursery School in Accrington has alerted parents to confirmed cases of scarlet fever and chicken pox.
The school sought advice from Public Health England after testing confirmed cases in its classrooms yesterday (December 6). Headteacher Cath Kippax said she has been advised to follow ‘enhanced measures’ in school, which will be implemented immediately.
Baines School in Poulton has written to parents confirming cases in its classrooms. It said ‘enhanced measures’ are in place and parents should remain vigilant for the symptoms.
Parklands High School in Chorley has notified parents of a confirmed case of scarlet fever.
Ashbridge Nursery in Hutton, South Ribble has also been informed of confirmed cases among its toddlers.
There are reports of other outbreaks in schools and nurseries across Lancashire, but we are waiting for these cases to be confirmed by the school authorities.
“Parents should not take children out of school unnecessarily”
Lancashire’s director of public health, Dr Sakthi Karunanithi, said parents should make themselves aware of the symptoms and take children to a doctor as quickly as possible if concerned.
But he added that “it is important that parents do not take children out of school unnecessarily”.
He said: “We’re working with schools to make sure they are aware what symptoms to look out for.
"Scarlet fever is a common childhood illness that can be easily treated with antibiotics and is usually a mild illness, but it is highly infectious.
"It is caused by bacteria called group A streptococci, often referred to as Strep A.
"These bacteria also cause other respiratory and skin infections such as strep throat and impetigo.
"In very rare occasions, the bacteria can get into the bloodstream and cause a serious illness called invasive Group A strep.
"While this is still uncommon it is important that parents are on the lookout for symptoms and see a doctor as quickly as possible.
“Make sure you talk to a health professional if your child is showing signs of deteriorating after a bout of scarlet fever, a sore throat, or a respiratory infection.
"It is also important that parents do not take children out of school unnecessarily."
Latest updates and advice from Government
The latest data shows that scarlet fever cases have rocketed by more than 670% this year in England and Wales, compared to the same period in 2021.
Some 861 cases of scarlet fever were reported in England and Wales in the past week, said the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA).
Experts believe increased social mixing this year and the spread of winter bacteria is to blame, although there is no evidence of a new strain found.
Officials also suggested that a lack of mixing during lockdown due to the Covid pandemic might have made some children more susceptible.
Dr Colin Brown, deputy director of the UKHSA, said on Tuesday the strains did not appear more severe, adding: “There isn’t something that is particularly new or novel about the bacteria that are causing the infections that we’re seeing at the moment.”
The agency has advised medics to have a low threshold for prescribing antibiotics for children suffering infection linked to Strep A.
It advised that GPs should “maintain a low threshold for prompt referral” to hospital of any children presenting with persistent or worsening symptoms.
Health Secretary Steve Barclay confirmed there is no shortage of antibiotics and urged parents to remain vigilant for signs of Strep A.
What is Strep A?
Strep A bacteria can cause many different infections, ranging from minor illnesses to more serious and deadly diseases.
They include the skin infection impetigo, scarlet fever and strep throat.
While the vast majority of infections are relatively mild, sometimes the bacteria cause serious and life-threatening invasive Group A Streptococcal disease.
This occurs when the bacteria have invaded parts of the body such as the blood, deep muscle or lungs.
Two of the most severe, but rare, forms of invasive disease are necrotising fasciitis and streptococcal toxic shock syndrome.
What are the symptoms?
The first signs of scarlet fever can be flu-like symptoms, including a high temperature, a sore throat and swollen neck glands (a large lump on the side of your neck).
A rash appears 12 to 48 hours later. It looks looks like small, raised bumps and starts on the chest and tummy, then spreads.
The rash makes skin feel rough, like sandpaper. The rash can also appear in the mouth/throat area.
You can find more details on the NHS website here.
If you have any concerns about symptoms your child might be showing, you can seek medical advice from 111 or your GP.