Strep A: Third primary school pupil dies after viral infection outbreak in Britain’s schools

The parents of a schoolgirl who became the second to die of Strep A in just a week have paid tribute to their beloved daughter as the deadly bacterial outbreak continues to spread. 

The pupil known as Hanna Roap, who attended Victoria Primary School in Penarth, Wales, died after contracting Strep A earlier this week, with friends and family admitting their hearts have ‘broken into a million pieces’. 

It comes as it was confirmed today that a third child, who attended St John’s School in Ealing, west London, tragically passed away after picking up the infection.

Strep A is a bacterial infection which affects the throat and skin. Although most cases only cause mild illness, some can be life-threatening and lead to scarlet fever.

A third primary school pupil who attended St John’s School in Ealing, west London (pictured) has died after contracting Strep A as calls for a full investigation continue after a bacteria outbreak

Primary school pupils, one in Wales and another in Surrey, died of invasive Strep A less than a week apart

Primary school pupils, one in Wales and another in Surrey, died of invasive Strep A less than a week apart

One mother said: ‘Hanna was a beautiful soul. Our thoughts are with you all at this tragic time.’ 

Another friend added: ‘She was the most beautiful, bubbly, funny, loveable person. Her family are heartbroken.’ 

The UKHSA North West London Health Protection Team emailed local GPs to warn of the spread of numerous viral infections within local primary school age groups.

St John’s School and North Ealing Primary School declined to comment on the outbreak.

Dr Yimmy Chow, health protection consultant at the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA), said: ‘We are extremely saddened to hear about the death of a child at St John’s Primary School, and our thoughts are with their family, friends and the school community.

‘Working with Ealing Council public health team, we have provided precautionary advice to the school community to help prevent further cases and we continue to monitor the situation closely. 

‘Group A streptococcal infections usually result in mild illness, and information has been shared with parents and staff about the signs and symptoms.

‘These include a sore throat, fever and minor skin infections and can be treated with a full course of antibiotics from the GP. In rare incidences, it can be a severe illness and anyone with high fever, severe muscle aches, pain in one area of the body and unexplained vomiting or diarrhoea should call NHS 111 and seek medical help immediately.’

The news comes after two primary school pupils, one in Wales and another in Surrey, died of invasive Strep A less than a week apart.  

Although harmlessly carried by a large portion of the population, Strep A can be transmitted through close contact, such as kissing or touching.

Despite being rare, these bacteria, which can be found in the skin and the throat, can cause more severe illness and lead to invasive Group A Strep disease. 

Victoria Primary School in Penarth, Wales, where a primary school pupil died from a Strep A infection earlier this week

Victoria Primary School in Penarth, Wales, where a primary school pupil died from a Strep A infection earlier this week

Ashford Church of England Primary School in England, where a death was reported of a six-year-old pupil from Strep A last week

Ashford Church of England Primary School in England, where a death was reported of a six-year-old pupil from Strep A last week

A second pupil from nearby North Ealing Primary School, which has recently seen a number of viral infections, including scarlet fever, remains in hospital with an unconfirmed illness.

The UKHSA has said they do not believe the two cases are related.

Last night it was confirmed that a primary school pupil in Wales died from Strep A, following the death of a six-year-old from the same infection in England last week.

The primary schoolgirl named only as Hanna by family friends became the second schoolchild to die from the infection within a week.

The death of the Victoria Primary School pupil in Penarth was confirmed by the school as having happened earlier this week, as well as Vale of Glamorgan Council, the Mirror reported.

‘Earlier this week, it was confirmed that a pupil from Victoria Primary School had tragically passed away after contracting Strep A,’ according to a joint statement published by the Mirror.

‘Both the school and council would like to pass on their heartfelt condolences to the family at this incredibly difficult time.

In a statement to MailOnline, Dr Ardiana Gjini, consultant in communicable disease control for Public Health Wales, said: ‘Public Health Wales is working with Cardiff and Vale University Health Board and the Vale of Glamorgan Council following the death of a pupil at Victoria Primary School, Penarth.

‘We offer our deepest condolences to the family, friends and all those affected.

What is Strep A and how can you spot it? 

Strep A is a Group A streptococcal (iGAS) infection, which affects the throat and skin.

Other symptoms of the invasive infection include a high fever, vomiting and a sore throat. 

Most cases cause only mild illness, but some can be life-threatening.

The infection can lead to Scarlet Fever, which was rife in the Victorian Era.

Symptoms include a rash on the throat, tongue and skin, and vomiting and diarrhoea.

The illness is treatable with antibiotics.

Those with the above symptoms should call 111 immediately. 

Source: UKHSA  

‘Public Health Wales cannot comment on individual cases, and we ask that the privacy of the family is respected.

‘Public Health Wales is working closely with the school to raise awareness as appropriate about invasive Group A Streptococcal disease (iGAS).

‘Although it is unlikely that their child will be affected by iGAS infection, relevant individuals are being advised that they should familiarise themselves with the symptoms and what to do if these symptoms occur.

‘Contracting iGAS disease from a contact is very rare. Most people who come into contact with Group A Streptococcal Infection remain well and symptom-free, or develop mild throat or skin infections.’ 

Last week, calls for a full investigation were made after a bacteria outbreak at an Ashford school led to the death of a six-year-old, and another child being taken to hospital.

The year one pupil died after they contracted the bacterial infection Group A streptococcal, also known as Strep A, at Ashford Church of England Primary School.

A school email to parents confirmed a second child had contracted Strep A, an infection which causes scarlet fever, but was showing ‘positive signs’.

The UKHSA was also notified of cases of Strep A in Year 1 and Year 6 at nearby Echelford Primary School, while a third pupil has contracted scarlet fever. 

Parents of children at the school are said to have received a letter informing them they had switched off all drinking water fountains and were monitoring pupils carefully.

Despite the serious cases of Strep A at Ashford Church of England Primary School, photos taken from the scene last week showed people seen working on hedges inside the school.

Both infected pupils went to the same Surrey primary school where the outbreak occurred, and people are now seeking answers as to why this happened.

Joanne Sexton, who represents the Ashford division at Surrey County Council, said a full investigation needed to take place.

‘It’s a shock more than anything and it’s very sad news. Goodness knows how the family is feeling. My heart just goes out to them,’ she said.

Surrey County Council released a statement last week with the UKHSA which confirmed the situation was being monitored at the school. 

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