Five-year-old girl’s tragic Strep A death surrounded by family
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Opening the inquest at Nottingham Council House, assistant coroner Hannah Mettam said: “I’d like to take this opportunity to express my sincere condolences, particularly to her parents, at this difficult time.”
The investigation into Meha’s death has now been adjourned until a later date to be arranged, BirminghamLive reports.
A provisional post-mortem examination found she died of Group Streptococcus sepsis (Strep A).
Meha’s death comes at a time when an unusually high number of children are being infected with Strep A, with 32 children dying this winter alone.
According to the Government, across all age groups, there have been “262 deaths have been recorded within seven days of an iGAS infection diagnosis (from any cause)” this winter.
In its latest update, the UKHSA (United Kingdom Health Security Agency) said: “The latest data from the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) continues to show that scarlet fever infections remain high, although they are now in line with levels seen during the last comparably high season in 2017 to 2018.
“The number of weekly notifications of invasive group A strep (iGAS) in children has slowed, but there has been a slight increase in recent weeks.
“While iGAS is still very rare, notifications remain relatively high in children compared to what we typically see, although these rates are more in keeping with the previous high season of 2017 to 2018.
“In recent weeks, there has been an increase in older adult age groups, and as in previous seasons, the majority of iGAS cases have continued to be among those over the age of 45, particularly in the over 65s.”
Incident Director at the UKHSA, Dr Derren Ready, said: “Although the number of scarlet fever notifications we are seeing each week has significantly fallen since the peak in December, the bacteria that cause the infection are still circulating at high levels for this time of the year.
“Please contact NHS 111 or your GP if you suspect you or your child have scarlet fever – with symptoms such as fever, sore throat, difficulty swallowing, and a sandpapery rash.
“Early treatment of scarlet fever with antibiotics is important to reduce the risk of a more serious infection and transmission to others.
“After starting antibiotics, children should be excused from school or nursery, and adults should be excused from work for the first 24 hours.”
They added: “It is important that we continue to help reduce the spread of all infections in the community and to vulnerable groups. Wash your hands regularly and thoroughly, catch coughs and sneezes in a tissue, and where possible keep your home well-ventilated. If you are unwell with any infection, it’s best to avoid visiting vulnerable people, and stay away from school, nursery, or work if you are unwell with a fever.”
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Strep A is a common type of bacteria which can cause an infection. The NHS says most strep A infections “are mild and easily treated, but some are more serious”.
Symptoms of a Strep A infection include:
- Flu-like symptoms
- Sore throat
- A rash that feels rough, like sandpaper
- Scabs and sores
- Pain and swelling
- Severe muscle aches
- Nausea and vomiting.
The NHS also has guidance on what to do if a child is ill. They write: “It can be difficult to tell when a child is seriously ill, but the main thing is to trust your instincts.
“You know better than anyone else what your child is usually like, so you’ll know when something is seriously wrong. If your child does not seem to be seriously ill, you can usually look after them at home. They should feel better in a few days.”
They added most Strep A infections can be “easily treated” with antibiotics.
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