Hampshire school pupil dies of invasive Strep A in Widley, Waterlooville

Downing Street has urged parents to be on the 'lookout' for symptoms after a rise in infection. Credit: PA Images

A school pupil has died from Strep A in Waterlooville, Hampshire.

Specialists from the UK Health Security Agency are working closely with Hampshire County Council to support a local school following the death of a pupil, who was also diagnosed with invasive Group A streptococcal infection (iGAS).

UKHSA and the County Council will ensure Morelands Primary School, Widley, Waterlooville, is advised on all necessary public health actions and that accurate information is shared with the school community.

Trish Mannes, regional deputy director for health protection at UKHSA South East, said: "We are extremely saddened to hear about the death of a young child, and our thoughts are with their family, friends and the local community.

"Infection with Group A Streptococcus bacterium usually causes a sore throat, scarlet fever 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.

"We will implement public health actions including advice to the county council and school community."

Across the UK at least eight children have died with an invasive form of the Strep A bacterial infection in recent months. Credit: PA Images

Simon Bryant, Director of Public Health at Hampshire County Council said: "We are working with the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) and Morelands Primary School in Waterlooville following the death of a pupil who attended the school.

"We offer our heartfelt condolences to the family, friends, and the whole school community who will all be deeply affected by the very tragic loss of this young child, and we are providing our support to them at this incredibly sad time.

"While we cannot comment on individual cases, we ask that the privacy of the family is respected.

"As a precaution, we have also been working closely with the school to raise awareness amongst parents and carers of the signs and symptoms of Group A Streptococcal infections, and what to do if a child develops these, including invasive Group A Streptococcal disease (iGAS).

"I would stress that contracting iGAS disease from another person is very rare.

"Most people who come into contact with Group A Streptococcal infections remain well and symptom-free – and therefore there is no reason for children to be kept home if well."

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