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Strep A: GPs are put on alert as cases and deaths rise

BMJ 2022; 379 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.o2941 (Published 05 December 2022) Cite this as: BMJ 2022;379:o2941

Opinion

Helen Salisbury: Safety netting relies on a responsive system

  1. Jacqui Wise
  1. Kent

GPs in the UK are being alerted that the group A streptococcal infection and scarlet fever season has started earlier than usual and to have a high degree of clinical suspicion when assessing patients, after it was confirmed that a seventh child has died.

The UK Health and Security Agency has confirmed that in England so far this season five children under 10 years old have died within seven days of a diagnosis of an invasive group A streptococcal infection.1 This compares with four deaths in the 2017-18 season, the last high season for the infection. A sixth death has been confirmed in Wales and none in Scotland. The death of a seventh child, a 12 year old in London, was confirmed on 5 December.

Susan Hopkins, chief medical officer at UKHSA, told the BBC Radio 4 Today news programme on 5 December, “We are seeing a rise in the number of cases confirmed to the UKHSA of scarlet fever and invasive group A strep. The numbers we are seeing each week are not as high as we normally see at the …

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