Pupil from Victoria Primary School in Penarth dies after contracting Strep A bacterial disease

  • Dr Ardiana Gjini from Public Health Wales spoke to ITV News following the child's death in Penarth

A child from Penarth has died after contracting an invasive Strep A infection.

Hanna Roap, from Victoria Primary School in Penarth, contracted Group A Streptococcal disease (iGAS) - also known as Strep A.

She is one of six children to die from the virus in England and Wales.

In a tribute on social media, Hanna's mother said the family's hearts have been "broken into a million pieces" following her death.

In a joint statement the school and the council said: "Earlier this week it was confirmed that a pupil from Victoria Primary School had tragically passed away after contracting Strep A. Both the school and council would like to pass on their heartfelt condolences to the family at this incredibly difficult time.

"Support is being provided to staff and pupils by the council’s team of educational psychologists and information from Public Health Wales has been circulated to parents where appropriate. It is unlikely that other pupils will be affected by the illness and severe symptoms are extremely rare."

"Sensible precautions such as regular hand-washing and not attending school when ill can reduce the risk of infection. If someone who has been in contact with an individual with Strep A develops any of the following symptoms: high fever, severe muscle aches, pain in one area of the body, redness at the site of a wound, vomiting or diarrhoea, a sore throat or tonsillitis, a mild skin infection such as impetigo or a rash, they should contact their GP immediately."

Public Health Wales is working with Victoria Primary School to raise awareness of invasive Group A Streptococcal (iGAs) disease.

Dr Ardiana Gjini spoke to ITV News Cymru Wales following the child's death.

Dr Ardiana Gjini, consultant in communicable disease control for Public Health Wales, said:

"Although it is unlikely that their child will be affected by iGAS infection relevant individuals are being advised that they should familiarise themselves with the symptoms and what to do if these symptoms occur."

"Contracting iGAS disease from a contact is very rare. Most people who come into contact with Group A Streptococcal infection remain well and symptom-free or develop mild throat or skin infections."

Public Health Wales indicated that a group of individuals are being advised to contact their GP or get medical advice without delay if they think their child has any of the signs and symptoms of iGAS disease and has reminded parents to consider nasal flu vaccine for their children where appropriate.

  • What is Strep A?

The NHS states that Group A Streptococcus is the name given to a type of bacteria sometimes found in the throat or on the skin.

Guidance for patients adds: "Group A Streptococcus usually causes mild illness like sore throats and skin infections. Rarely these bacteria can cause severe and life-threatening illness called invasive Group A streptococcal disease.

"Many people carry Group A Strep harmlessly and do not develop illness. It can be passed from person to person by close contact such as kissing or skin contact.

Most people who come into contact with Group A Strep remain well and symptom-free [but] some get mild throat or skin infections. Contracting invasive disease from a relative or household member is very rare. You can reduce the risk of picking up Group A Strep by always washing your hands thoroughly."

In respect of symptoms the NHS information adds:

"Group A Strep can cause throat infection, scarlet fever, or skin infections such as cellulitis or impetigo. These infections are usually treated with antibiotics. Very rarely it can cause severe illness when the bacteria get into parts of the body that are usually free from bacteria such as the lungs, blood, or muscles."

"This is called invasive Group A streptococcal disease. Invasive disease happens when the bacteria get past your body’s immune defences. This can happen when you are already ill or are on treatments, such as some cancer treatments, that affect your immune system. Two of the most severe types of invasive disease are necrotising fasciitis and toxic shock syndrome."