Strep A: woman arrested on suspicion of neglect over child death in west Wales linked to bacteria

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At least 26 children have now died after contracting Strep A across the UK.

A woman has been arrested on suspicion of child neglect over the death of an eight-year-old linked to the Strep A infection in Wales.

According to the BBC, a 33-year-old woman was arrested by Dyfed-Powys Police on 23 December after the “sudden death” of a child the day before in Maes-y-Deri, Lampeter, Ceredigion, west Wales. The woman has since been released as inquiries continue.

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Strep A, which refers to Group A Streptococcus (GAS), is the name given to a type of bacteria sometimes found in the throat or on the skin. It usually causes mild illnesses such as a sore throat, but can cause other infections such as pneumonia and scarlet fever, and in a small number of cases they can become very serious.

The child died in Maes-Y-Deri, near Lampeter. Credit: Mark HallThe child died in Maes-Y-Deri, near Lampeter. Credit: Mark Hall
The child died in Maes-Y-Deri, near Lampeter. Credit: Mark Hall | Mark Hall

Public Health Wales confirmed it is looking into links between the child’s death and the invasive Strep A infection. Dr Graham Brown, consultant in communicable disease control for PHW, said: “Public Health Wales is working with Hywel Dda University Health Board and Ceredigion Council following the death of a child in Lampeter.

“We offer our deepest condolences to the family, friends and all those affected. Public Health Wales cannot comment on individual cases. We are investigating links to invasive group A streptococcal disease (iGAS), a very rare complication of group A streptococcal infection.

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“While we understand that parents are likely to be worried, cases of iGAS remain rare in Wales and children have a very low risk of contracting the disease.”

The death follows those of seven-year-old Hanna Roap, from Penarth, South Wales, and a child from Powys who has not been named. Both families have confirmed the cause of death of both children was iGAS.

Two of the deaths were in children under 10. These two deaths are the first to be recorded north of the border, though children have died elsewhere in the UK. The most recent data from the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) shows 21 children under 18 in England have died from invasive Strep A disease while three deaths of children have been recorded in Belfast and Wales.