Streptococcus A infection has been affecting children in the UK. According to previous reports, 8 children have died in the UK due to strep A infection in the last few days. Parents, early child care workers, or school personnel have been advised to closely observe children for symptoms. Children can catch the virus from the infected and spread it. Some may not show any symptoms, others may report serious health problems, and death has even been reported.
Worried that you or a family member might have strep throat? Contact a healthcare professional for a quick test to see if your sore throat is strep throat. If it is positive, antibiotics can help treat strep throat and prevent infecting other people.
What is strep A infection?
- Streptococcus A is an infection that affects the throat and tonsils caused by group A Streptococcus bacteria
- Group A strep bacteria are spread through droplets from an infected person. You can get sick if you touch your eyes, mouth, or nose after touching something with these droplets on it.
- The most common form of diagnosis is a throat swab test to check for strep throat.
- People with a strep A infection should stay home until they clear up and the fever is gone, and take antibiotics for at least 12 hours.
- Antibiotics for strep throat reduce symptoms and length of illness, prevent long-term health problems, and help prevent the spread of the bacteria to friends and family.
What are the symptoms of this infection in children?
A child with strep throat may have any of these symptoms:
- bright red tongue
- Headache, irritability
- Red, sandpaper-like rash on the body (scarlet fever)
- redness, sore throat
- sleeping more than usual
- Stomach pain, lack of appetite, nausea or vomiting, especially in young children
- Swollen and tender neck glands
- difficulty swallowing
- Tiny red spots on the roof of the mouth
- White patches on the back of the throat, tonsils, or tongue
A child with a cough, hoarseness, red eyes, and runny nose may be due to a viral infection, the flu, or a different illness rather than strep throat.
How to avoid infection?
- Try to keep the child away from others for at least 12 hours after starting the antibiotics.
- Good hand washing is essential! Clean your hands and your child’s hands often with soap and water for 15 to 20 seconds. An alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol may also be used. Rub your hands together until they are dry Ask or help your child to cover their mouth when they cough or sneeze. Dispose of used tissues immediately.
- Do not share drinking or eating utensils.
- Keep regular doctor appointments if your family has a sore throat.
- Tell your child’s school if he has strep throat so they can tell other parents to watch for symptoms in their children.
- Keep your child home until they have been on antibiotics for 12 hours and have no fever.
How can strep A be treated?
Streptococcus A infections are treated with antibiotics for 24 hours. After antibiotic treatment, it is generally assumed that people are no longer contagious. Anyone infected with strep bacteria should seek immediate medical help. Antibiotics, other medications, and intensive medical care are likely to be needed.