A school pupil has died from Strep A in Sussex, ITV Meridian has been told.
The child, who has not yet been named, attended Hove Park School and is the 16th death from the infection in the UK in recent weeks.
In a statement, issued to ITV Meridian, Brighton and Hove City Council and the UK Health Security Agency confirmed the death.
Dr Rachael Hornigold, consultant in 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 city council and school community.”
Alistair Hill, Director of Public Health at Brighton & Hove City Council said:
“We are working with the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) and Hove Park School 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. However, if you feel that your child seems seriously unwell please contact NHS 111.”
Strep A is a bacterium which can colonise the throat, skin and anogenital tract. It causes a diverse range of skin, soft tissue and respiratory tract infections.
Those carrying the bacteria may have no symptoms or develop an infection.
It survives long enough in the throat or skin to allow it to be spread by skin-to-skin contact, coughing and sneezing.
Even in cases where a person has no symptoms, carriers of the disease can still pass on Strep A as easily as those who are feeling ill from it can.