The father of a 4-year-old girl who is fighting for her life in hospital has urged parents to seek urgent advice if they are concerned about Strep A symptoms.
Dean Burns encouraged parents who are worried about their child being unwell to get them checked as quickly as possible. Mr Burns’ daughter, Camila Rose, has been in Alder Hey Hospital in Liverpool for a week. She is on a ventilator after contracting Strep A and Mr Burns said that his family is “hoping and praying for a miracle.”
Strep A is a form of bacteria, which usually causes no symptoms or very mild symptoms. It is found on the skin and in the throat. There have been more cases of Strep A this year and in recent weeks, seven children have died with iGAS (invasive group A streptococcus), a severe infection. There has also been an increase in case numbers of scarlet fever.
Mr Burns said that Camila’s condition was gradually improving, but that he was conscious that “anything could take her back the other way.” He urged other parents who have concerns about their children to “scoop them up” and get help urgently.
Mr Burns took Camila to hospital in Bolton after she started to feel unwell on Saturday November 26th. By Sunday, she was hallucinating and on Monday morning, she was put on a ventilator and transferred to Alder Hey, a specialist children’s hospital.
The UK Health Security Agency believes that the recent rise in cases of Strep A has been driven by increased socialising and high levels of the bacteria circulating among the population. Strep A can be passed to others via close contact or through coughing and sneezing.
Prof Beate Kampmann, a paediatrician who specialises in infectious diseases, said that parents should seek advice from medical experts if they are worried about their child. In the majority of cases, children have asymptomatic infections, but some children will develop symptoms, which range from a sore throat to very severe symptoms caused by iGAS. Prof Kampmann stressed that iGAS is very rare but said that parents should err on the side of caution.
Prof Kampmann added that cases of scarlet fever have been much higher compared to before the pandemic. Symptoms to look out for include a high temperature, a very sore throat, a red tongue, which can be bumpy and rough, and a rash that develops behind the neck and elbows and spreads. Strep A, she explained, is usually “very, very treatable with penicillin.”
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