London: Boy, 12, dies of invasive Strep A, becoming ‘Britain’s oldest victim’

Colfe's school

The Headmaster of Colfe’s School has written to concerned parents (Picture: Getty)

A 12-year-old boy in south-east London has died after contracting Strep A, it has been reported.

The pupil at private Colfe’s School in Lewisham is believed to be the oldest victim of this winter’s invasive infection, raising fears of an outbreak.

He had blood poisoning caused by invasive group A strep – a sometimes life-threatening infection where the bacteria invade parts of the body.

At least six children are now known to have died from the disease in recent weeks, but they were all under the age of 10.

Principal Richard Russell wrote to concerned parents as another Colfe’s School pupil is currently in hospital.

In a letter seen by The Sun, he described the boy’s death as a “great shock” but also reassured families the risk to their children was still low.

“We have taken advice from the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA),” Mr Russell wrote.

Symptoms of Strep A Chart

These are the symptoms of Strep A that people should watch out for

“Blood tests revealed that the student had blood poisoning (sepsis) caused by group A streptococcus (GAS) which resulted in invasive group A streptococcal disease (iGAS).

“The GAS bacterium is very common and usually causes mild illnesses like scarlet fever that can be treated with antibiotics.

“However, in very rare cases, it can be complicated by other infections and enter the bloodstream – become invasive and cause blood poisoning.”

Meanwhile, a four-year-old girl is fighting for her life from Strep A in a Liverpool hospital.

Camila Rose Burns has been on ventilators since Monday after contracting the infection.

Camila Rose is on fire

Camila Rose Burns has been fighting for her life in hospital after contracting the virus (Image: Sky News)

Camila Rose is on fire

The little girl has been on a ventilator since Monday (Image: Sky News)

Experts argue that such cases are “very rare,” but the number of patients contracting Strep A has increased every year since 2014.

dr Nicole Robb, professor of virology at the universities of Oxford and Warwick, warned: “We currently have what could be described as the perfect storm for respiratory diseases”.

She said: “These diseases are seasonal so it is common for cases to increase during the winter months.

“However, this may be exacerbated as we have all ‘lost’ immunity during the Covid lockdowns as we have had almost no exposure to everyday bugs.

“That’s why young children are most at risk from strep and other infections.

“There are many who have never been exposed to the same insects that we were as children, and therefore their bodies have not learned to deal with them.”

dr Robb therefore called for more testing in the community – at home and in pharmacies – to relieve GPs and hospitals.

UKHSA did not comment on the 12-year-old boy’s death, but Dr. Associate principal Colin Brown urged parents to be on the lookout for symptoms.

He confirmed a higher than usual number of cases of group A strep there this year.

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Justin Scacco

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