The illnesses associated with Group A Streptococci can range from minor illnesses to very serious and fatal illnesses.
It occurs when life-threatening bacteria invade various parts of the body, including the blood and muscle tissue.
The condition is contagious, meaning it can spread through direct contact with nasal and throat secretions from an infected person or with infected lesions.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), an infection of Strep A can cause a sore throat to develop quickly.
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The symptoms can resemble those of tonsillitis, causing swollen tonsils, sometimes with white spots or streaks of pus.
Petechiae, which describes small red spots on the palate, are also commonly seen in patients.
Other signs listed on the CDCs include:
Pain when swallowing
Swollen lymph nodes in the front of the neck.
According to the health authority, the following four symptoms suggest that a virus is the cause of the illness, rather than strep throat:
- Running nose
Anyone can get strep throat, but there are some factors that can increase your risk of getting this common infection, such as being a child and being in a group setting.
Since close contact with an infected person is the most common risk factor for illness, bacteria can easily spread to other people in the same household.
It should be noted that a large number of people who contract the disease remain healthy and symptom-free.
In addition, people who carry the bacteria but have no symptoms are much less likely to spread the disease.
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It is most likely to cause illness if a person’s immune defenses are already exhausted or if a wound has not yet healed.
Only one other student at Ashford Church of England Primary School is known to be infected, and health experts are closely monitoring the situation.
According to PA news agency, an email sent to parents by the school read: “It is with the deepest regret and sadness that I must inform you that a child in Year 1 sadly passed away after developing invasive Group A Streptococcus.”
A spokesman for the UK Health Security Agency said: “Specialists are arranging for antibiotics to be offered to pupils and staff at a school in Surrey as a precautionary measure following two cases of invasive group A streptococcal infection (iGAS).”
Doctor Claire Winslade, a heart protection consultant at UKHSA South East, added: “We are extremely saddened to hear of the death of a pupil in Ashford.
“As a precautionary measure, we have recommended antibiotics to students and staff in the same year groups as those affected.
“We have issued advice to the school to help prevent further cases and will contribute to monitoring the situation.
“Information has been shared with parents about the signs and symptoms of iGAS, including high fever with severe muscle aches, pain in any part of the body, and unexplained vomiting or diarrhea.”
Anyone with the above symptoms is advised to call 111 immediately.