POLICE have launched an investigation after the “unexplained” death of an eight-year-old girl in Wales as public health bodies probe a possible link to the Strep A outbreak.
A 33-year-old woman was arrested following the death, but has been released while investigations continue.
The young girl, from Maes-y-Deri, Lampeter, died on the evening of Thursday, December 22.
The 33-year-old woman was arrested on suspicion of child neglect the next day before being released while the investigation continues, Dyfed-Powys Police has confirmed.
Public Health Wales is investigating links to invasive Strep A and is working with Ceredigion Council and Hywel Dda University Health Board following the tragic death.
Dr Graham Brown, consultant in communicable disease control for Public Health Wales, said: “Public Health Wales is working with Hywel Dda University Health Board and Ceredigion Council following the death of a child in Lampeter.
We offer our deepest condolences to the family, friends and all those affected. Public Health Wales cannot comment on individual cases.
“We are investigating links to Invasive Group A Streptococcal disease (iGAS), a very rare complication of Group A Streptococcal infection.
While we understand that parents are likely to be worried, cases of iGAS remain rare in Wales, and children have a very low risk of contracting the disease.
“Invasive Strep A infections occur when Strep A bacteria gets past the defences of the infected person – often when that person has sores or breaks in the skin, or when they are immunocompromised (often due to illness).
In its latest update, published on December 20, Public Health Wales indicated that it had been notified of fewer than five deaths in children under the age of 15 in whom iGAS was detected since September 1, 2022.
The next update from the body is due later today.
As of December 22, the UK Health Security Agency said that 24 children had died from Strep A in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
The symptoms of an invasive Strep A infection are:
- Fever (above 38°C)
- Severe muscle aches
- Localised muscle tenderness
- Redness at the site of a wound
If your child is showing any symptoms of invasive Strep A, you should contact your GP immediately.
Additionally if your child has a fever, nausea or vomiting, or a fine sandpaper-like pink-red rash, this could be a symptom of scarlet fever – another complication of Strep A infection – and you should also contact your GP.
More information about Strep A is available on the Public Health Wales website.
A spokesperson for Ceredigion Council said: “Our thoughts are with the family and we are supporting them in every way we can.
“The Council cannot comment further due to the ongoing police investigation.”