The HSE's director of national health protection, Dr Eamonn O'Moore has said that Strep A is being investigated as one of the possible causes in the death of a four-year-old child in the north-east of the country.
The HSE is currently reviewing the details of the child's death, which he described as a terrible event. Dr O'Moore told RTÉ radio's News at One that Strep A was among other conditions being investigated as the a possible cause of death.
More details will emerge over the course of the day, he added. Every care will be taken with due diligence as the laboratory process was time sensitive.
To date there have been 55 confirmed cases of Strep A in Ireland, with two deaths - both elderly people. Of the 55 cases 16 were paediatric.
There was an increase in Strep A cases this year, said Dr O'Moore. There were "lots of bugs circulating" so people should be mindful, observe respiratory etiquette and if ill should not be mixing with others.
The flu vaccine was important, he added.
The news comes after a five-year-old child, who attended a Belfast primary school which previously reported a severe case of Strep A, died.
The Press Association reported on Tuesday that parents of the youngest pupils at Black Mountain Primary School received a letter from the Public Health Agency on Friday to tell them a pupil had been diagnosed with a severe form of Strep A.
On Tuesday morning, the school spoke of its “tragic loss” and said “the thoughts of the entire school are with the pupil’s family and friends at this difficult time”.
It said in a statement: “To assist in supporting our pupils and staff at this sad time, additional trained staff from the Education Authority Critical Incident Response Team have been engaged and will be providing support to the school.
“A letter has been sent by the school to parents, informing them of our tragic loss and providing information on the support services available through school for our children during this incredibly sad time.