Six-year-old dies after bacterial outbreak at primary school

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A primary school pupil has died and a second is being treated in hospital following a bacterial outbreak at a primary school in Surrey.

The two pupils were believed to be in the same year group at Ashford Church of England Primary School.

The pair contracted the rare invasive group A streptococcal infection (iGAS), the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) said. The government agency said it had recommended prescribing antibiotics for staff and students.

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The child who died would be six years old and in Year 1.

Dr. Claire Winslade, Health Protection Adviser at UKHSA South East, said: “We are extremely saddened to hear of the death of a pupil at Ashford Church of England School, and our thoughts are with their family, friends and the school community.

“As a precautionary measure, we have recommended antibiotics to students and staff in the same year groups as those affected. We have advised the school to help prevent further cases and will continue to monitor the situation.

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“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 these symptoms should call NHS11 immediately.

Infection with group A Streptococcus bacteria usually causes a sore throat or skin rash and is passed on through physical contact or through droplets from sneezing or coughing.

In very rare cases, the infection can become invasive, invading parts of the body where bacteria are not normally found and causing serious and life-threatening illnesses such as necrotizing fasciitis and streptococcal toxic shock syndrome.

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A spokesman for the UKHSA 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).

“Sadly one student from Ashford Church of England Primary School has died and another is in hospital but is showing positive signs of recovery.”

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