New strain of strep A emerges in England and Wales

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A new strain of toxin producing group A streptococcus is spreading across England and Wales. Strep A causes many different infections – ranging from a sore throat to scarlet fever.

Invasive strep A are cases of infection whereby the bug penetrates deeper into the body and causes more serious problems such as blood poisoning.

In 2018/19 there were 1,500 cases of invasive strep A in England. This is 8% higher than the average number of cases seen over the last five years.

The number of cases of scarlet fever mysteriously surged in 2014, and just two years later so did the number of invasive strep A cases.

The cause of the new strain of strep A in unknown to scientists. They know it is a mutation from a previous strain, and produces almost 10 times more toxins than that of the initial strain it came from. The mutation has been confined to the UK, with only one case being seen in Denmark and one in the US.

Symptoms of scarlet fever to look out for include:

  • sore throat
  • swollen glands on neck
  • sandpaper like red rash
  • flushed red face but pale around the mouth
  • white coating on tongue
  • fever over 38°C.

It is important that if your child exhibits any of the above symptoms that you seek immediate medical assistance.

Amanda Cavanagh, a medical negligence specialist at Ashtons Legal, says: “I have drafted several articles on our website in relation to sepsis as it is unfortunately still something which is often overlooked. Please do not be afraid to visit A&E or your GP with a loved one who displays these symptoms to ask the question, could it be sepsis? Be confident to raise the suspicion.”


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