Cases of invasive Group A streptococcal (iGAS) infection at a Surrey school
Specialists from the UK Health Security Agency have arranged for antibiotics to be offered to pupils and staff in Year 1 and 2 at a Surrey school as a precautionary measure, following two cases of invasive Group A streptococcal infection (iGAS).
Sadly, one pupil from Ashford Church of England Primary School has died and another is in hospital, but showing positive signs of recovery.
Dr Claire Winslade, health protection consultant at UKHSA South East, said:
We are extremely saddened to hear about the death of a pupil at Ashford Church of England School, and our thoughts are with their family, friends and the school community.
As a precautionary measure, we have recommended antibiotics to pupils and staff in Years 1 and 2; the same year groups as the individuals affected. We have provided advice to the school to help prevent further cases and will continue to monitor the situation.
Information has been shared with parents about the signs and symptoms of iGAS, which include high fever with severe muscle aches, pain in one area of the body and unexplained vomiting or diarrhoea. Anyone with these symptoms should call NHS111 immediately.
Infection with Group A Streptococcus bacterium usually causes a sore throat or skin rash and is passed by physical contact or through droplets from sneezing or coughing. In very rare cases, the infection can become invasive and enter parts of the body where bacteria aren’t normally found, which can be serious.
Ruth Hutchinson, Director of Public Health, Surrey County Council said:
We are deeply saddened by the death of a pupil at Ashford Church of England School and we offer our sincere condolences to their family, friends and the whole school community, who are in our thoughts.
Our school relationships team, available 24/7, has provided the school with guidance during this tragic time and our public health team are working closely with UKHSA, school leaders and health partners to take appropriate health protection measures and ensure children, parents and carers at the school are appropriately supported.
A number of other illnesses typically circulate at this time of year and parents, school and nursery staff are advised to be aware of the symptoms.
Dr Winslade added:
We are also seeing cases of scarlet fever, RSV and other viral infections in the community, which are all fairly common among children. Please ensure that children stay off school if they’re unwell to help minimise the spread of infections and check that they are up to date with their routine vaccinations. Always contact your GP for medical advice if you are concerned.
Fact sheet for schools and parents about Group A Streptococcus (GAS)/Scarlet Fever (www.surreycc.gov.uk)