A six-year-old pupil has died and another is being cared for in hospital after an outbreak of an invasive bacteria at a primary school in Surrey.
The death was confirmed by the UK Health Security Agency South East’s health protection consultant Dr Claire Winslade.
The year one Ashford Church of England School pupil caught the invasive Group A streptococcal (iGAS) infection, it was said in an email to parents.
Dr Winslade said: “We are extremely saddened to hear about 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 pupils and staff in the same year groups as the individuals affected. We have provided advice to the school to help prevent further cases and will continue to monitor the situation.”
Group A streptococcus (or Strep A) is known to cause scarlet fever, throat infections and, in very rare cases, invasive disease.
This can occur when bacteria get into parts of the body where bacteria are not usually found, such as the blood, muscle or the lungs.
It can happen if the bacteria get past a person’s defences, such as through an open wound or when a person’s immune system is depleted.
Most people who come into contact with the bacteria remain well and symptom-free.
The BBC reported the child’s age.
An email sent by the school to parents, obtained by the PA news agency, said: “It is with the deepest regret and sadness that I have to inform you that a child in Tiger class, year one has sadly died after developing invasive Group A streptococcal (IGAS).
“We are also aware that a child in a year 2 class has developed the same illness but is showing positive signs of recovery.”
The school said it comes as a “shock” for the whole community and that staff were seeking advice from Public Health England on actions they should take and advice they should give to parents.
Surrey County Council director of public health Ruth Hutchinson was quoted as saying: “We are deeply saddened by the death of a pupil at Ashford Church of England School and we offer our sincere condolences to their family, friends and the whole school community, who are in our thoughts.”
Those with the above symptoms should call 111 immediately.