Group A Strep (GAS) | News

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Group A Strep (GAS)

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There has recently been an increase in cases of Group A Streptococcus (GAS) in children. Group A Strep (GAS) is a common bacteria that causes a range of infections, including scarlet fever. These infections are usually mild.

 

Symptoms include:

  • Sore throat
  • Headache
  • Fever
  • A fine, pinkish or red body rash with a sandpapery feel.

On darker skin the rash can be more difficult to detect visually but will have a sandpapery feel.

Contact NHS 111 or your GP if you suspect your child has scarlet fever, because early treatment with antibiotics is important to reduce the risk of complications, such as pneumonia or a bloodstream infection.

If your child has scarlet fever, keep them at home until at least 24 hours after the start of antibiotic treatment to avoid spreading the infection to others.

GAS is spread by close contact with an infected person and can be passed on through coughs and sneezes or from a wound. It's important to keep your hands clean, use a tissue to catch coughs and sneezes, and keep away from others if you feel unwell.

Invasive Group A Strep (iGAS)

The bacteria can also cause a rare, more serious infection called Invasive Group A Strep (iGAS). This occurs when GAS bacteria get into parts of the body such as the lungs or bloodstream where it causes serious disease.

As a parent, if you feel that your child seems seriously unwell, you should trust your own judgement. Contact NHS 111 if 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 three months and has a temperature of 38C, or is older than three months and has a temperature of 39C or higher
  • Your baby feels hotter than usual when you touch their back or chest, or feels sweaty
  • 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 will not wake up or stay awake.

For further information, please visit the UK Health Security Agency website.

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