Child at Morecambe nursery tests positive for Strep A

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A Morecambe nursery has announced that one of its children has tested positive for the bacterial infection Strep A.

Lancaster Road Nursery put out a statement on Tuesday afternoon to confirm the positive test in one of the children who attends to the nursery.

The statement on the nursery's Facebook page said: "Just to let you know we have had a child from our nursery test positive for Strep A today.

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"We are making sure to do extra hand washing and cleaning to help prevent different germs spreading."

Lancaster Road Nursery put out a statement on Tuesday afternoon.Lancaster Road Nursery put out a statement on Tuesday afternoon.
Lancaster Road Nursery put out a statement on Tuesday afternoon.

The nursery said the case was reported in the Bumblebee classroom, but added that other children are showing symptoms in other classes.

The news follows a rise in the number of UK cases of Strep A in children under 10.

The bacteria group A Streptococcus usually only causes mild sickness but it rare cases it can be fatal.

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Since September, nine UK children have lost their lives due to complications of the disease.

The UK Health Security Agency has warned parents to be on the look-out for symptoms.

Deputy director Dr Colin Brown said: "We are seeing a higher number of cases of Group A strep this year than usual.

"The bacteria usually causes a mild infection producing sore throats or scarlet fever that can be easily treated with antibiotics.

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

"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."

UKHSA said there were 2.3 cases per 100,000 children aged one to four this year in England, compared to an average of 0.5 in the pre-pandemic seasons (2017 to 2019) and 1.1 cases per 100,000 children aged 5 to 9 compared to the pre-pandemic average of 0.3 (2017 to 2019) at the same time of the year.

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Between September 12 and November 20 there were 74 reported cases in the north west.

Figures for the most recent week, up to December 4, show the Lancaster district had eight cases of scarlet fever.

What is Strep A?

Bacteria called group A streptococci can cause scarlet fever. These bacteria also cause other respiratory and skin infections such as strep throat and impetigo.

Scarlet fever is usually a mild illness in children and is easily treated with antibiotics, but it is highly infectious.

Symptoms include a sore throat, headache, and fever, along with a fine, pinkish or red body rash with a sandpapery feel.

On darker skin, the rash can be more difficult to detect visually but will have a sandpapery feel.

What should parents do?

If you feel that your child seems seriously unwell, you should trust your own judgement.

Contact NHS 111 or your GP if:

*your child is getting worse

*your child is feeding or eating much less than normal

*your child has had a dry nappy for 12 hours or more or shows other signs of dehydration.

*your baby is under 3 months and has a temperature of 38°C, or is older than 3 months and has a temperature of 39°C or higher

*your baby feels hotter than usual when you touch their back or chest, or feels sweaty

*your child is very tired or irritable

Call 999 or go to A&E if:

*your child is having difficulty breathing – you may notice grunting noises or their tummy sucking under their ribs

*there are pauses when your child breathes

*your child’s skin, tongue or lips are blue

*your child is floppy and will not wake up or stay awake

Good hand and respiratory hygiene are important for stopping the spread of many bugs. By teaching your child how to wash their hands properly with soap for 20 seconds, using a tissue to catch coughs and sneezes, and keeping away from others when feeling unwell, they will be able to reduce the risk of picking up or spreading infections.

Contact NHS 111 or your GP if you suspect your child has scarlet fever, because early treatment of scarlet fever with antibiotics is important to reduce the risk of complications such as pneumonia or a bloodstream infection.

If your child has scarlet fever, keep them at home until at least 24 hours after the start of antibiotic treatment to avoid spreading the infection to others.