Nadhim Zahawi urges parents to beware of Strep A symptoms as tragedy strikes again

Warning to parents as seventh child dies from Strep A: Nadhim Zahawi urges parents to beware of symptoms as tragedy strikes again

  • A 12-year-old boy attending a school in London was the youngest victim of Strep A
  • Camila Rose Burns, four, is on a ventilator in Liverpool and fighting for her life
  • Thousands of parents are considering withdrawing their children from school
  • Parents are urged to contact NHS 111 or their GP if children with symptoms worsen, start eating less or show signs of dehydration

A seventh child has died from winter sickness Strep A – prompting the government to urge parents to be extra vigilant if their children fall ill.

A 12-year-old boy attending a school in London was the youngest victim.

Cabinet minister Nadhim Zahawi said yesterday that although most cases of Strep A have been mild, parents should be aware of the symptoms. “It’s really important to be vigilant because on the very rare occasions when it does get serious it needs urgent treatment,” the Tory Party leader told Sky News’ Sophy Ridge on Sunday.

“It’s highly contagious, so the important message is that parents should be aware of the symptoms — fever, headache, rash.”

Fighting for her life: Camila Rose, four, on a ventilator at Alder Hey Children's Hospital in Liverpool

Fighting for her life: Camila Rose, four, on a ventilator at Alder Hey Children’s Hospital in Liverpool

Heartbreaking: Camila Rose Burns, pictured with her father Dean, has been critically ill

Heartbreaking: Camila Rose Burns, pictured with her father Dean, has been critically ill

Muhammad Ibrahim Ali, who attended Oakridge School and Nursery in High Wycombe, Bucks, died after contracting the bacterial infection

Muhammad Ibrahim Ali, who attended Oakridge School and Nursery in High Wycombe, Bucks, died after contracting the bacterial infection

When is the right time to see a doctor?

A sore throat is different from a normal sore throat and the pain can hit sufferers very quickly. Symptoms include pain when swallowing, fever, red and swollen tonsils – sometimes with white spots or streaks of pus – difficulty breathing and headache.

The NHS recommends people see their GP if a sore throat doesn’t improve after a week, if you’re worried about your symptoms, if you have a high temperature or if you’re feeling hot and shivering. People with a compromised immune system, such as those undergoing chemotherapy, should also see a doctor.

Scarlet fever symptoms are often flu-like and include high fever, sore throat, and swollen cervical glands.

A rash appears 12 to 48 hours later, starting on the chest and abdomen and then spreading.

The latest victim is said to have been an 8th year pupil at Colfe’s Fee-paying School in Lewisham, south-east London. He is the first high school student to die in the current outbreak. Meanwhile, four-year-old Camila Rose Burns, from Bolton, who has been fighting for her life on a ventilator after contracting Strep A, remains at Alder Hey Children’s Hospital in Liverpool.

Last night her father Dean Burns said: “She is still in intensive care but she is showing signs of improvement. We just keep praying that she recovers. Her body went into shock, and her limbs were severely damaged. It’s heartbreaking’

Group A strep bacteria usually only cause relatively mild illnesses, such as skin infections like impetigo, scarlet fever, and sore throat. But in rare cases, they can trigger a life-threatening illness called invasive group A streptococcal disease.

Four-year-old Muhammad Ibrahim Ali, from High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire, died last month after contracting Strep A and then suffering cardiac arrest.

Another of the children who died was a six-year-old child, believed to be a girl, who attended Ashford Church of England primary school in Surrey.

Thousands of parents are considering withdrawing their children from school as the disease sweeps classrooms.

The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) said it was up to local health protection teams to decide whether parents of children in schools where infections have been confirmed should be advised to keep them at home.

According to the UKHSA, children with scarlet fever – in which Strep A causes a sandpaper-like rash – should stay at home.

Health officials are urging parents to contact NHS 111 or their GP if children with symptoms worsen, eat less or show signs of dehydration.

Nadhim Zahawi said yesterday that although most cases of Strep A have been mild, parents should be aware of the symptoms

Nadhim Zahawi said yesterday that although most cases of Strep A have been mild, parents should be aware of the symptoms

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Emma Colton

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