There have been five recorded deaths within seven days of an invasive Strep A diagnosis in children under 10 in England this season, the UK Health Security Agency has said.
A child under the age of 10 has also died in Wales after contracting the infection.
Group A strep bacteria can cause many infections, ranging from minor illnesses to deadly diseases, but serious complications and deaths are rare.
According to UKHSA data, there were 2.3 cases of invasive disease per 100,000 children aged one to four this year in England, compared with an average of 0.5 in the pre-pandemic seasons (2017 to 2019).
There have also been 1.1 cases per 100,000 children aged five to nine, compared with the pre-pandemic average of 0.3 (2017 to 2019).
The UKHSA said investigations are under way following reports of an increase in lower respiratory tract Group A Strep infections in children over the past few weeks, which have caused severe illness.
It added that there is no evidence to suggest a new strain of Strep A is circulating, and the increase is most likely related to high amounts of circulating bacteria and social mixing.
Source: Sky News, 3 December 2022
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