Doctors ‘terrified’ of missing signs of Strep A as at least 6 children die in UK

GPs are said to be terrified of ­missing signs of Strep A infection in children after a spate of deaths.

At least six children under 10 have died from a rare form of invasive Strep A since September, with a nursery-age lad from Ealing, West London, among the latest victims.

A 12-year-old secondary school pupil in Lewisham, South East London, is feared to be the seventh to die.

And four-year-old Camila Rose Burns is “fighting for her life” in Liverpool’s Alder Hey ­Children’s Hospital, her father said on Saturday.

Strep A bacteria can cause impetigo, scarlet fever and strep throat, which are often treatable with antibiotics, but in a small number of cases it can result in serious disease.

Stephanie de Giorgio, a GP at an urgent treatment centre in Kent, told the Sunday Telegraph: “I won’t lie, I am terrified of missing this. Guidance would be very welcome. GPs, and those working in urgent and emergency care, are seeing huge numbers of children with viral upper respiratory infections. No one wants to miss a serious diagnosis.”

Grieving dad Abul Roap, 37, warned daughter Hanna Roap, seven, of Penarth, near Cardiff, who was sent home with steroids, could have survived if she had been given antibiotics.

Dr Richard Van Mellaerts, deputy chairman of the BMA England GP committee, said: “Rapid communication from NHS England and the UK Health Security Agency is vital to enable ­practices to effectively care for patients.”

According to the UKHSA, there has been more than a four-fold increase in the invasive disease since the pandemic.

Data shows 2.3 cases per 100,000 children aged one to four in England this year, rather than 0.5 from 2017 to 2019.

The UKHSA has said local health protection teams should decide whether to advise parents to keep pupils off from schools with cases. Some parents have vowed to keep them at home anyway.