Boy, 12, becomes first secondary school pupil to die from Strep A as parents vow to keep their children at home

4 December 2022, 08:26 | Updated: 4 December 2022, 08:28

A seventh child has died from the bug
A seventh child has died from the bug. Picture: Google Maps/Family Handout

By Emma Soteriou

A 12-year-old boy has become the first secondary school pupil to die from Strep A as parents have vowed to keep their children at home.

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The youngster is the seventh school-aged child to have died of complications after contracting Strep A - a bacterial infection which usually only affects the throat and skin.

He is understood to have been a Year 8 pupil at fee-paying Colfe's School in Lewisham, according to Mail on Sunday.

Some parents have already vowed to keep their sons and daughters at home as a result, with many more thought to be set to follow suit, even at schools without confirmed infections.

It comes after four-year-old Muhammad Ibrahim Ali died at his home on November 14, after suffering a cardiac arrest.

He had been given antibiotics to treat a rash on his body but also suffered with a cough and complained of stomach pains.

Meanwhile, Camila Rose Burns, also four, from Bolton, is fighting for her life on a ventulator in Alder Hey Children’s Hospital in Liverpool.

Read more: 'Broken' father of girl, four, on ventilator with Strep A warns parents not to hesitate over symptoms

Read more: Six children die from Strep A bug as heartbroken families pay tribute to victims

Muhammad Ibrahim Ali
Muhammad Ibrahim Ali. Picture: Family Handout

Another victim was a six-year-old child at Ashford Church of England Primary School in Surrey last week.

Teachers at nearby Echelford Primary School, soon went on to confirm two children had been infected.

They added that they had been advised by the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) that "children should continue to attend school as normal and parents/carers should not be overly alarmed".

However, the sudden spike in deaths has left parents worrying about the bug and had instead turned to keeping their children at home.

The UKHSA said on Saturday evening that it was up to local health protection teams to decide whether parents of children at schools where there have been confirmed infections should be advised to keep them at home.

A spokesman explained that decisions would be made on a "case-by-case basis".

Camila Rose Burns
Camila Rose Burns. Picture: Family Handout

Symptoms are usually mild, including a fever, muscle aches, vomiting and a sore throat. It can also cause scarlet fever.

In exceptionally rare cases, the bug — spread in the same way as Covid, through close contact such as sneezing, kissing and touching — can penetrate deeper into the body and cause life-threatening problems such as sepsis.

Health bosses have urged all Britons to practice good hand hygiene to help stop transmission of the bug, including teaching children to wash their hands properly with soap for 20 seconds and use a tissue to catch coughs and sneezes.

The boy, 12, is reported to have been pupil at Colfe’s School in Lewisham
The boy, 12, is reported to have been pupil at Colfe’s School in Lewisham. Picture: Google Maps

Dr Colin Brown, deputy director, UKHSA, said: "The bacteria usually causes a mild infection producing sore throats or scarlet fever that can be easily treated with antibiotics. 

"In very rare circumstances, this bacteria can get into the bloodstream and cause serious illness – called invasive Group A strep (iGAS). 

"This is still uncommon however it is important that parents are on the lookout for symptoms and see a doctor as quickly as possible so that their child can be treated and we can stop the infection becoming serious.

"Make sure you talk to a health professional if your child is showing signs of deteriorating after a bout of scarlet fever, a sore throat, or a respiratory infection."