Strep A: 30 ill after outbreak at primary school in Wales

The outbreak happened at Brynaman Primary School in Carmarthenshire. (Google)
The outbreak happened at Brynaman Primary School in Carmarthenshire. (Google)

A scarlet fever outbreak at a Welsh primary school has left 30 children ill, with three suffering a rare complication.

Public Health Wales said the outbreak at Brynaman Primary School in Carmarthenshire had caused three children to develop Group A Streptococcal disease (iGAS), which is caused by the same bacteria as scarlet fever.

Two of the children have been taken to the University Hospital of Wales in Cardiff, according to ITV News.

There are usually fewer than 20 cases of iGAS in children a year in Wales.

Public Health Wales said the majority of children recover with the proper treatment.

The recent outbreak has mostly impacted primary school-aged children. (PA)
The recent outbreak has mostly impacted primary school-aged children. (PA)

Read more: Strep A: Where are the most cases - and where have the fatal cases been?

They said in a statement: "Parents of children at the school have been reminded of the symptoms of scarlet fever and what actions they should take, including keeping unwell children away from school and seeking medical advice if needed."

They added: "While we understand that parents are likely to be worried, cases of invasive group A streptococcal infection (iGAS) remain rare in Wales, and children have a very low risk of contracting the disease.

“We remind the public that cold and flu like symptoms are also very common at this time of year, especially in children. Most will have a common seasonal virus, which can be treated by keeping the child hydrated, and with paracetamol."

Scarlet fever is a flu-like bacterial infection that can cause sore throat, headache, fever and vomiting.

This is then followed by a red rash, usually on the chest and stomach.

On darker skin the rash can be harder to spot but it should feel like 'sandpaper', according to the NHS.

According to the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) shows 13 children under 15 have died in England since September.

Step a illnesses often start with flu-like symptoms. (Getty)
Step a illnesses often start with flu-like symptoms. (Getty)

Read more: Strep A: Father warns he took daughter, 5, to hospital three times before she died

Two more deaths have also been recorded in Northern Ireland and Wales.

Group A strep bacteria can cause many different infections, ranging from minor illnesses to deadly diseases.

Illnesses caused by strep A include the skin infection impetigo, scarlet fever and strep throat.

The UKHSA has said there is no current evidence that a new strain is circulating and the rise in cases is most likely due to high amounts of circulating bacteria and increased social mixing.

Since September, the UKHSA said there have been 652 reports of invasive strep disease, higher than at the same points over the last five years.

It comes as pharmacists continue to use Twitter to complain of shortages in access to antibiotics, including the liquid version of penicillin, which is often given to children.

Health secretary Steve Barclay insisted on Wednesday that checks within the Department of Health have not revealed an issue with supply of the medicines.

However, the National Pharmacy Association has pointed to “blips” in the supply chain of liquid penicillin, while the Association of Independent Multiple Pharmacies said pharmacists across the country were struggling to source all they need.