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Fifteen children have died of Strep A in the UK in recent weeks.  Could an outbreak occur in the United States?

Fifteen children have died of Strep A in the UK in recent weeks. Could an outbreak occur in the United States?

cIt started as a common bacterial infection that ended in the death of fifteen children infected with Strep A in Great Britain.

Health authorities issued a A terrible warning To parents in the UK as the number of infant deaths from infection continues to rise. The latest victim, a five-year-old Irish girl, became seriously ill last week before dying on Monday from complications linked to Strep A.

While pediatric patients usually present with mild symptoms such as fever and swollen tonsils and lymph nodes, complications can arise when the infection reaches the bloodstream, leading to a deadly disease known as invasive group A streptococcus (iGAS).

In the United States, cases of iGAS have declined during the pandemic, but the CDC said The Independent On Wednesday, doctors in the US informed the agency about a possible recent increase, which is now being actively monitored.

Dr. Marc Heckar, a pediatric infectious disease specialist and associate professor in the Jacobs College of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences University of Buffalo, He said The Independent It is difficult to say whether the US could see an outbreak similar to the recent outbreak in the UK.

According to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), seven children under 17 per 100,000 in the areas surveyed died from complications of Strep A before the pandemic in 2019.

One death per 100,000 population was reported in the monitored areas in 2020 when the last report was released.

The CDC only tracks infections for iGAs and does not track non-invasive Strep A infections. Only 10 countries reported data for iGAS in the most recent report.

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“The mitigation measures (such as closing schools and workplaces, masking) used during the first two years of the COVID-19 pandemic helped limit the spread of many viruses and bacteria,” said a spokesperson.

“Now that these germs are circulating again, we may be returning to typical iGAS infection patterns, including a seasonal increase in the winter months.

What is a Strep A infection?

Group A streptococcus is a common bacterial infection, seen mostly in children.

In more severe and rare cases, the infection causes conditions such as a reddish-pink rash (scarlet fever), bacterial dermatitis (impetigo), necrotizing tissue (fasciitis), streptococcal toxic shock syndrome, pneumonia, and sepsis.

However, most group A streptococcal infections have mild, flu-like symptoms.

d said hekar. “…With the previous spike in cases in the UK, there doesn’t seem to be any impacts on US cases, so [whether there will be one now] It’s hard to say.”

the doctor. Certain strains of the infection can lead to a “sandpaper rash,” Hekar says, which often makes kids sicker and is known as “scarlet fever.”

“It usually happens with [throat infections or] Cases of pharyngitis but can [happen with] herpes infections as well. This appears to be the model reported in the UK currently.

He added that children who suffer from immunodeficiency are more susceptible to infection with streptococcus A.

d said hekar.

Doctors have warned the mother of 2-year-old Tayden, who was diagnosed with aplastic anemia earlier this year, that her daughter may have a delayed transplant after the baby contracted Strep A last week.

“She was restless and tired the day before with a fever,” said Heather, who lives in Utah. The Independent.

Taiden’s symptoms went away within 48 hours after she was given antibiotics. You are expected to recover from the transplant.

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Sore throat is one of the main signs of a Strep A infection.

Can infection increase after the pandemic?

said a CDC spokesperson The Independent More data needs to be collected to get a better idea of ​​recent trends in Strep A in the United States.

“Recent increases in respiratory viruses, particularly influenza, may contribute to a potential increase in iGAS infection. Concurrent or previous viral infections such as influenza and skin conditions such as chickenpox may increase the risk of iGAS infection,” the spokesperson said.

the doctor. Hekar added that wearing a mask did not appear to reduce infection.

“Masks help well with respiratory viruses such as influenza and Covid, but other organisms that can linger on surfaces [such as Strep A] They tend not to be affected by wearing a mask.” 🇧🇷[US] Available data from 2020, the first year of the pandemic, appears stable for invasive group A streptococcal infection and mortality rates.”

The CDC estimates between 14,000 and 25,000 cases of iGAS over the past five years and between 1,500 and 2,300 deaths over the same time period.

What symptoms should parents be aware of?

According to the CDC, most children infected with streptococcus A have pain when swallowing, fever, red and swollen tonsils (sometimes with white spots or streaks of pus), and swollen lymph nodes in the front of the neck.

Dr. Hekar is calculating The Independent Sore throat and fever should go away within a few days. He advised parents to see their doctors again if symptoms persist.

If your child has been diagnosed [Strep A] And it seemed to get better but then got worse, talk to your doctor.” “One of those rare and more serious complications could start.”

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He stressed that while most cases are not dangerous for children, complications can be life-threatening if the infection reaches the bloodstream (bacteremia), the lungs (pneumonia) or the brain (meningitis).

The new strain of group A streptococcus may be more likely to cause serious internal infections

How do children become infected?

Crowded environments, such as schools and day care centers, increase the risk of Strep A infection.

The bacteria is highly contagious and can spread through respiratory droplets when speaking, coughing, or sneezing and through direct contact when patients develop skin sores, according to the CDC.

In very rare cases, it can also be spread through food when it is not delivered properly.

says d. The Independent.

“…more exposure [a person] you have, the greater the likelihood that she will be infected. However, there are many benefits to peer interaction and socialization.”

What should you do if you suspect your child has streptococcus A?

Strep A infection can be diagnosed using a rapid strep test that includes a throat swab.

Doctors also administer throat cultures to patients. Although this method takes 1 to 2 days, it is more effective than the rapid test.

What is the treatment for Strep A?

Currently, there is no vaccine to prevent Strep A infection.

Antibiotics reduce symptoms, prevent complications, and are the most widely used form of treatment. Once prescribed antibiotics, patients should start to feel better within 48 hours.