Child, 6, dies and another in hospital after rare 'invasive' bacterial outbreak at primary school

The bacterial outbreak was discovered at Ashford Church of England Primary School. Credit: Google Maps

A child has died and another is in hospital after an outbreak of an "invasive" bacteria at a primary school in Surrey.

The pupils belong to the Ashford Church of England Primary School, in Ashford.

The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) said the outbreak was of the invasive group A streptococcal infection (iGAS).

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."

She added that as a precautionary measure pupils and staff from the same year groups as the affected individuals have been recommended to take antibiotics.

Ashford Primary School Credit: BPM

An email sent by the school to parents, said: “It is with the deepest regret and sadness that I have to inform you that a child in Tiger class, year one has sadly died after developing invasive Group A streptococcal (IGAS).

“We are also aware that a child in a year 2 class has developed the same illness but is showing positive signs of recovery.”

The school said it comes as a “shock” for the whole community and that staff were seeking advice from Public Health England on actions they should take and advice they should give to parents.

Joanne Sexton, who represents the Ashford division at Surrey County Council, said a full investigation needed to take place.

The school was open as usual on Friday.

Cases of group A streptococcus emerged in 2019 Credit: PA

What is Strep A?

According to, group A Streptococcus is a bacterium that can grow in the throat, skin and anogenital tract.

The infection causes a diverse range of skin, soft tissue and respiratory tract infections, including: tonsillitis, pharyngitis, scarlet fever, impetigo, erysipelas, cellulitis, and pneumonia.

It is also known to cause scarlet fever, throat infections and, in very rare cases, invasive disease.

This can occur when bacteria get into parts of the body where bacteria are not usually found, such as the blood, muscle or the lungs.

It can happen if the bacteria get past a person’s defences, such as through an open wound or when a person’s immune system is depleted.

Most people who come into contact with the bacteria remain well and symptom-free.

In 2019 an outbreak of invasive Group A streptococcus in Essex killed 13 elderly people.

Anyone who is concerned they might have iGAS symptoms is urged to call NHS111.

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