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31st Mar 2023

Warning issued after rise in Strep A deaths in Ireland

Kat O'Connor

A warning has been issued after a rise in Strep A deaths.

Six children have sadly died in Ireland since October from iGAS, which is an illness caused by Strep A.

Invasive group A streptococcal disease (iGAS) is caused by infection with group A Streptococcus (Strep A) bacteria.

Most cases of Strep A are mild, but some cases can result in iGAS.

The Health Protection Surveillance Centre also confirmed the deaths of 10 adults, related to Strep A.

They confirmed that there has been an increase in cases since October 2022.

179 cases of iGAS were recorded in Ireland between October 2022 and March 2023.

65 of the cases were in children under 18 years. 55 of those children were under 0-9 years old.

Of the six children who died, four children were under 10 and two of the children were aged between 10 and 17.

Strep A

The public has been told to look out for the symptoms.

Symptoms include a fever, a rash, flushed cheeks, and a sore throat. Those with Strep A will also have a swollen tongue.

The tongue may be covered in a white coating. This coating will then peel and leave the tongue swollen and red. This is known as ‘strawberry tongue’.

The rash is typically found in the joint creases, as well as over the stomach. It can feel rough, like sandpaper.

Those who contract scarlet fever often have a mild infection. Complications are rare, but they’re still possible.

Complications include ear infections, throat abscesses, and pneumonia.

In extreme cases, people may develop kidney damage, as well as heart damage, but these complications are rare if the child is treated promptly. Antibiotics will also help prevent complications.

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