Group A Streptococcal infection

  1. There is a national warning to look for potential streptococcal infection, with a bacteria called Group A Strep.
  2. There is also a large number of viral infections in our community, including COVID, Flu, RSV and Hand, foot and mouth, affecting adults and especially children.
  3. Thirdly we are running low on antibiotic supply, needing to use our stock wisely.

The combined mix of a virus along with the strep bacteria seems to be the biggest danger.

So what are we looking to treat with antibiotics (or maybe hospital) ?

  • Scarlet fever with “sandpaper rash”, “strawberry tongue”, high temperature, sore throat, sore glands.
  • Chest infections, where a bacterial (Streptococcal) infection may have added on top of the viral infection. Not just a cough, but other symptoms of being more unwell such as high temperature, rapid breathing, rapid heartbeat, dehydration, not eating and drinking normally.
  • Sepsis. Drowsy, rapid breathing, rapid heartbeat, not responding normally, reduced feeding.
  • Persisting or worsening symptoms: Most viral infections are improving around the 4-5 days of infection.

What are we not treating with antibiotics?

  • Every cough, every sore throat, every headache, every temperature.
  • We need to monitor these “viral infections” for signs of illnesses above, but we will not be able to give antibiotics “just incase”.
  • This advice could change in local areas where a serious outbreak of “invasive” infections is taking place – where the bacteria seem especially dangerous.
  • We are not currently aware of these serious cases in North Devon.

For advice about common infections, see links below.

What should parents do?

Sensible advice from BBC website:

Trust your judgement if your child seems seriously unwell.

Contact your local surgery if they:

  • are getting worse
  • are eating much less than normal
  • show signs of dehydration, such as a dry nappy for 12 hours
  • have a temperature of 39C or higher, or 38C if under three months old
  • are a baby and feel hotter than usual when you touch their back or chest or sweaty
  • are very tired or irritable

Call 999 or go to an accident-and-emergency unit if:

  • they are having difficulty breathing – you may notice grunting noises or their stomach sucking under their ribs
  • they are pausing when they breathe
  • their skin, tongue or lips are blue
  • they are floppy and will not wake up or stay awake