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HSE confirms death of Dublin child (4) from Strep A infection

A spokeswoman said local public health teams are supporting the family and the school attended by the child.

Eilish O'

The HSE confirmed today a four year old child from died from Strep A infection.

The child, who is understood to be from Dublin, died after developing the invasive and potentially deadly Strep A infection.

A spokeswoman said local public health teams are supporting the family and the school attended by the child.

Dr Éamonn O’Moore, Director, HSE Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HPSC) said, “The news of a child death with Strep A will be worrying for parents, but it’s important to know that most children who get ill from a Group A Strep infections will have a mild illness which can be treated with antibiotics.

“Group A Streptococci are a common bacteria that are often and usually relatively mild and self-limiting. They can cause infections like tonsillitis and pharyngitis and scarlet fever.

“The HPSC is closely monitoring Strep A and scarlet fever and as yet there is no evidence that a new strain is in circulation. There is likely a combination of factors as to why there has been a slight increase in infection this season, including increased social mixing following the pandemic compared to previous years as well as increases in other respiratory viruses.

"If anyone is unwell with winter virus type symptoms, stay at home to stop the spread, and this includes not sending sick children to crèche or school until they are better.”

The HPSC has contacted schools and childcare providers with information on Strep A infections, including Scarlet Fever, as well as other winter viruses.

In its advice to parents, the HSE said:

It’s always concerning when a child is unwell. Such infections cause various symptoms such as sore throat, fever, chills and muscle aches.

As a parent, if you feel that your child is seriously unwell, you should trust your own judgement.

Contact your GP if:

  • your child is getting worse
  • your child is feeding or eating much less than normal
  • your child has had a dry nappy for 12 hours or more or shows other signs of dehydration
  • your baby is under three months and has a temperature of 38 degrees, or is older than 3 months and has a temperature of 39 degrees or higher
  • your baby feels hotter than usual when you touch their back or chest, or feels sweaty
  • your child is very tired or irritable

Call 999 or go to an Emergency Department if:

  • your child is having difficulty breathing – you may notice grunting noises or their tummy sucking under their ribs;
  • there are pauses when your child breathes
  • your child’s skin, tongue or lips are blue
  • your child is floppy and will not wake up or stay awake.

There has been a small increase in iGAS in Ireland since the beginning of October.

To date in 2022, HPSC has been notified of 56 iGAS cases in Ireland, 15 were in children aged under 10 years old compared to 22 cases in children aged under 10 for the same period in 2019.

During the pandemic, normal social mixing patterns were interrupted which led to changes in how diseases such as iGAS presented.

Twenty-two of the 56 iGAS cases notified in Ireland in 2022 have been reported since the beginning of October, 5 of whom were aged under 10 years old.

A common presentation of GAS in children can be scarlet fever which causes the following symptoms: fever, a raised rash which can feel rough to the touch like sandpaper, sore throat, and a swollen tongue.

Whilst GAS infections, including scarlet fever, are common; the more serious Invasive Group A Streptococcal (iGAS) infections are rare.

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