A PHARMACIST has moved to reassure parents worried about the strep A infection.
Carrigaline CarePlus pharmacist Nigel Moloney said parents do not need to panic following the death of a Dublin child linked to strep A.
“I want to reassure parents and to tell people not to panic. Even though the invasive group A streptococcus is a very serious illness, the majority of kids who get strep A infection won’t become very unwell. In fact, most kids and adults would have had some form of strep A infection during their life,” he said.
The Government is not considering any Covid-type measures for strep A, said Tánaiste Leo Varadkar adding that the Government was concerned over the invasive form of the bacterial infection linked to the death of a four-year-old child in Ireland.
He also said the State had not been informed of any shortage of oral or IV penicillin “at this stage”, and that “we’re aware what has been signalled in the UK”.
The HSE confirmed on Wednesday that invasive Group A Streptococcal infection was found to be the cause of the infection associated with the death of the four-year old child in the northeast.
“The Government is very concerned about Strep A,” Mr Varadkar said.
“It’s a bacteria illness that’s been around for some time but there has been a number of cases and unfortunately, sadly, at least one fatality in recent times.”
He said the State had not been informed of any shortage of oral or IV penicillin “at this stage”, and that “we’re aware what has been signalled in the UK”.
“It is a treatable illness but very important that we heed the advice of the chief medical officer. If your child has a high temperature, sore throat, cough, keep them home, keep them under observation and contact GP if you feel their deteriorating.”
“We’re not at the point where we’re contemplating any Covid-type measures, this is not a virus, it’s different. This is a bacterial infection and the number of cases thankfully so far is relatively low,” he said.
However, he said people should remember some of the advice that applied during Covid and keep children at home if they are unwell.
Public health staff are supporting the family as well as the school the child who died of the infection had attended.
Carrigaline pharmacist Nigel Moloney said that Streptococcus bacteria is naturally present in our bodies in the skin and throat. Typically, this bacterium causes common conditions such as strep throat, impetigo, cellulitis, and scarlet fever.
“These tend to spread fairly easily around creches and schools. They are all common conditions but are easily managed with antibiotics and kids tend to recover from them quite quickly after the course of antibiotics,” he told The Echo.
He described what conditions are necessary for streptococcus infections to become fatal.
“The main thing is to advise people not to get overly anxious. It is only a very small percentage of people and children who have a streptococcus invasion that will go on to develop the group Strep A infection. You wouldn’t expect it so be in a skin lesion, the lungs or the blood. Weaknesses in these areas can become an access point for the more fatal variant.”
In a small number of cases, the GAS bacteria journeys into the blood or lungs. This can result in streptococcal toxic shock syndrome or necrotising fasciitis, both extremely serious.
“The invasive group A streptococcus needs an access point to get into the body to cause severe infections. Of those access points would be lesions on the skin or lesions in the lung.”