Strep A cases in Bradford higher than usual as parents visit hospitals

CONCERNED parents have been visiting hospital A&Es as Bradford Council confirmed Strep A cases in the city are higher than usual.

The viral infection has been rearing its head over the past week or so at least eight deaths now linked to Group A Streptococcus.

It is a common bacteria – also known as scarlet fever or “GAS” – that is often found in people’s throats and skin meaning many may carry it without displaying any symptoms.

But it can cause both mild and more serious infections – from a sore throat and headache to a body rash.

A warning was issued to parents yesterday to regularly check their children for early symptoms of the illness, as the NHS West Yorkshire Integrated Board confirmed there had been an increase in casesparticularly among children under the age of 10.

It was has now been revealed today that parents have been presenting with their children at both Bradford Royal Infirmary (BRI) and Airedale General Hospital, concerned their child may have Strep A.

A spokesperson for both Airedale NHS Foundation Trust and Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust said: “We can confirm that we are seeing understandably concerned parents with their children in our A&E departments.”

It comes as Bradford Council also confirmed cases of the viral infection are higher in the city than they usually are at this time of year.

Sarah Muckle, Director of Public Health at the council, said: “Reported cases of infections in Bradford related to Group A Streptococcus such as scarlet fever have been higher than expected for the time of year.

“Most cases of scarlet fever are mild and easily treatable.

“Where cases have been reported in schools, the schools have taken necessary precautions to prevent further spread.

“Parents should contact NHS 111 or their GP if they suspect a child has scarlet fever, because early treatment with antibiotics can reduce the risk of complications.

“In rare cases, group A strep can lead to more serious diseases such as iGAS.

“Parents and teachers are advised that if a child seems seriously unwell, they should trust their own judgment and contact 111 or 999 depending on the severity of the symptoms.”

St Pauls CE Primary School, in St Paul’s Avenue, Wibsey moved to reassure parents yesterday after another case of Strep A was confirmed there.

Headteacher, Cath Palmer, published a letter to parents and guardians with the headline “Risk assessing”.

The letter revealed that the school had another case of Group A Streptococcus in the setting and that a number of events would be rescheduled as a result.

A national investigation into the rising number of infections is underway, but there is no evidence to suggest a new strain is circulating.

Some general advice for parents is:

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 38°C, or is older than 3 months and has a temperature of 39°C or higher
  • 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 won’t wake up or stay awake

More detailed advice can be found on the UKSHA website: Group A Strep – What you need to know.

Clinicians are also directing parents to the WY Healthier Together NHS website, which can be found here.

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