Health officials confirm 13th death following Strep A outbreak

Invasive Group A Strepococcus (iGAS) is a rare infection Picture: GETTY IMAGES

Invasive Group A Strepococcus (iGAS) is a rare infection Picture: GETTY IMAGES - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

A thirteenth person has died following a Strep A outbreak which has now infected 34 people in Essex.

An update by Mid Essex CCG who are investigating the outbreak, confirmed that the total number of cases of the potentially life threatening Group A streptococcus (iGAS) now totals 34 after a further two people were diagnosed with the disease.

One patient is being treated but the other has died from sepsis related to the infection.

A statement from the CCG said: "As part of the ongoing iGAS outbreak in mid Essex, NHS Mid Essex Clinical Commissioning Group can confirm that a further patient has been diagnosed with iGAS and is currently being treated.

"An additional case has been added to the total outbreak count.

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"This patient passed away with sepsis earlier this year. The case was previously not included in the iGAS count.

"Therefore, the total number of patients affected by the iGAS outbreak is 34 and 13 of those patients have sadly died."

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The CCG also confirmed that of the two new cases, one case was identified in Basildon in 2018 and one case in Southend in February 2019.

There does not appear to be a direct link between the cases in south Essex and mid Essex.

Streptococcal infections are usually unpleasant but not life-threatening.

They typically cause illnesses like tonsillitis or scarlet fever - but this invasive infection can cause pneumonia, sepsis or a 'flesh-eating' condition called necrotising fasciitis.

Minor strep A infections can be treated with antibiotics.

However the NHS recommends seeing your GP if you have persistent or severe symptoms. The risk of infection is very low.

Mid Essex CCG also added that they are leading an incident management team, working hard with colleagues to manage the situation.

Control measures in place to prevent spread of Strep A

According the Mid Essex CCG, the control measures put in place to limit the spread of this infection include:

- A programme of preventative antibiotics for the community nursing staff in mid Essex

- Community nursing teams who usually work within the CM7 postcode area in Braintree are working only in that area for the time being to minimise the risk of the infection spreading. This is because the majority of cases have been within this area of Braintree.

- A deep clean of all community nurse bases in mid Essex and reinforcing standard infection control measures including hand hygiene and use of personal protective equipment among NHS wants to staff continue.

- Swabs are being taken from adult patients being treated by mid Essex community nursing teams to check for the bacteria.

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