Health chiefs launch Strep A inquiry after death of child in Powys
Health authorities are investigating whether the death of a child is linked to the invasive Strep A infection.
Public Health Wales (PHW), Powys Teaching Health Board and Powys County Council said an inquiry has been launched following “the recent death of a child in Powys”.
Dr Ardiana Gjini, from PHW, urged parents “to be vigilant for signs and symptoms” of the “very rare complication”.
She added that people “identified for public health action have already been contacted”.
“We offer our deepest condolences to the family, friends and all those affected,” she said.
“A multi-agency incident management team is following normal processes, and investigating links to Invasive Group A Streptococcal disease (iGAS), a very rare complication of Group A Streptococcal infection.
“People identified for public health action have already been contacted and provided with appropriate treatment and advice.
“Individuals who have not been contacted do not need to take any specific action; however, we remind parents to be vigilant for signs and symptoms of scarlet fever and iGAS.
“While we understand that parents are likely to be worried, cases of Invasive Group A Streptococcal infection (iGAS) remain rare in Wales, and children have a very low risk of contracting the disease.”
There have been 16 confirmed deaths in the UK of children with Strep A since September.
Primary school pupil Hanna Roap, from Penarth in South Wales, was among the fatalities.
If confirmed, the latest death would take the nationwide toll to 17.
In a statement released on Tuesday, PHW said: “Public Health Wales have been notified of fewer than five deaths in children under the age of 15 in whom iGAS was detected since 1 September 2022.”
NHS Wales’s 111 phone line was inundated with more than 18,000 calls over the weekend amid concerns about Strep A symptoms – more than double the number of calls taken in the same period last year, according to PHW.
It has prompted the organisation to launch a symptom checker for parents with a traffic light system to help them decide when to seek medical help for their child.
Dr Graham Brown, consultant in communicable disease control for PHW, said: “We understand parents are likely to be worried by reports they are seeing related to rising cases of scarlet fever and we want to reassure them that it is still usually a mild illness from which most children will recover without complications, especially if the condition is properly treated with antibiotics.
“In very rare cases, Group A Streptococcal infection can cause iGAS, a rare complication which usually affected fewer than 20 children in Wales each year.
“Although iGAS is a worrying condition, the majority of these children will recover with proper treatment.”
Support our Nation today
For the price of a cup of coffee a month you can help us create an independent, not-for-profit, national news service for the people of Wales, by the people of Wales.