A total of 9 children have died from strep A infection in the UK, health officials have confirmed.
The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) on Monday December 5, confirmed the deaths of 9 children in England while Wales and Northern Ireland recorded the death of one child. The illness can be spread by having contact with infected persons through sneezing and coughing.
Group A Streptococcus (GAS), popularly known as Strep A, and its common symptoms include sore throat, rashes, pain and vomiting among others, according to the NHS.
Westminster World went to the streets of Harrow, and spoke to parents about the Strep A surge and how they are protecting their children.
Ebere Okeke, a mother and biologist, advised parents to protect their kids, she said: “Everything we see so far about the disease is about being careful, we have to teach their children about washing their hands and being careful not putting things in their mouth.”
Ebere also urged parents to be proactive. She said: “if a child has a fever just report it, don’t ignore it.”
Steven, who is also a parent, emphasised that the best approach to curb Strep A is to “prevent it.”
Abin Shakar, a father to a toddler, said he and his wife were taking all necessary precautions to protect their child.
Shankar said: “I just moved to London in January, and this is my first winter because we are from a very hot place.
“We don’t go out, and we take our GP advice regularly and we are trying to use our winter clothes this season and take drugs as prescribed by our GP.”
Councils and Schools in Northwest London have started issuing letters to parents about the infection.
A parent shared with Westminster World a letter she received from Welldon Park Academy, KS, Nursery and Primary School in South Harrow. The letter warns parents about the virus, and instructs parents to speak to their GP or call the NHS on 111 for any suspected cases.
The email also sent to parents of Weldon Park Academy children contained an information sheet from the Harrow council to parents.
An excerpt of the letter from Harrow council reads: “As a parent, if you feel that your child seems seriously unwell, you should trust your own judgement. Contact NHS 111 or your GP if your child is getting worse, your child is feeding or eating much less than regular, your child has had a dry nappy for 12 hours or more or shows other signs of dehydration.
The Council also urged parents to visit the UKHSA or the UK government websites to get updates about Strep A.