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07th Dec 2022

CMO confirms death of child in Ireland from invasive Strep A

The news was confirmed this afternoon.

A child has died in Ireland from invasive Group A Strep (iGAS), the Chief Medical Officer has said.

CMO Breda Smyth was speaking to Virgin Media News on Wednesday (7 December) when she confirmed the news.

“Unfortunately, I can confirm that there has been one invasive Group A strep-associated death here in Ireland in a child,” she told the programme.

“This is a very sad event, so I would like to extend my deepest sympathy to the family of the bereaved,”

“As you know, I don’t comment on individual cases, but with regard to Group A Strep, there will be a lot of anxiety, so it’s important for parents to know that the majority of cases of Group A Strep are mild infections and can be treated with antibiotics.”

Virgin Media News reports that the child was living in the east of the country and was under the age of 10.

In a statement on Tuesday, the Health Protection Surveillance Centres (HPSC) said there has been a small increase in iGAS in Ireland since the beginning of October.

“A common presentation of GAS in children can be scarlet fever which causes the following symptoms: fever, a raised rash which can feel rough to the touch like sandpaper, sore throat, and a swollen tongue,” it stated.

“Whilst GAS infections, including scarlet fever, are common; the more serious Invasive Group A Streptococcal (iGAS) infections are rare.

“To date in 2022, HPSC has been notified of 55 iGAS cases in Ireland, 14 were in children aged under 10 years old.

“21 of the 55 IGAS cases notified in Ireland in 2022 have been reported since the beginning of October, 4 of whom were aged under 10 years old.”

Meanwhile, a devastated father in Belfast says he took his daughter to A&E three times before she tragically died of Strep A.

Robert McCorkindale told the Mirror his child, Stella-Lilly, started feeling unwell on the weekend of 26 November with a cold and temperature.

He said he brought the five-year-old to the hospital three times in three days before she was admitted to intensive care, but by then it was too late.

She tragically passed away on Tuesday, 6 December.

The Mirror reports that a review is being conducted into Stella-Lilly’s care and the hospital has offered to meet with her family.

McCorkindale said: “I think she would have had two extra days of fighting. They should have tested her for Strep A on the Monday [November 28], by the time they induced her Stella had given up.”

While speaking to the paper, he paid tribute to his daughter saying she was “kind and caring and thoughtful”.

“She was a great child, parents came up to me all the time saying they wished their children were like Stella-Lilly.

“Everyone that met her loved her.”

McCorkindale said that when he first took Stella-Lilly to Royal Belfast Hospital for Sick Children, she was too ill to walk.

He also stated that he was told by doctors she was dehydrated.

However, by 30 November, Stella-Lilly’s condition had severely deteriorated.

Her father said: “By 5pm on Wednesday Stella had said ‘mummy, I feel like I’m dying’. and so we took her back. I shouted at them that we were not going anywhere until we saw a doctor.

“In 15 minutes, this doctor ordered tests and found she had a chest infection and they said ‘we think this is toxic shock now’.

“They weren’t 100% sure it was Strep A, and they feared it was sepsis too because the blood was infected. The blood culture came back for a Strep A a few hours later.”

McCorkindale also said that once his daughter was admitted staff went “above and beyond for her”.

For information about iGAS, visit the HSPC’s website here.

Main image via Sam Boal/