Strep A: New map shows the London boroughs with the most cases of invasive bacteria

There have been 94 deaths from Invasive Group A Streptococcus infections (iGAS) across England between September 12 and December 12, including 21 children under the age of 18, according to the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA).

Infections become life-threatening when the strep A bacteria invades parts of the body where it is not usually found, such as the lungs or the bloodstream. Symptoms include a high temperature, severe muscle aches and a sore throat.

A number of suspected cases of a rare infection have been identified by GPs across London so far this year – as medics continue to monitor an out-of-season rise in Strep A. In fact, analysis shows that doctors in London have identified 78 potential cases of invasive group A streptococcal disease since the start of 2022.

Here is the full list of all the London boroughs that have seen the highest number of suspected cases of invasive strep A. Data is correct as of December 22.

London boroughs with the highest number of suspected invasive strep A cases

  • Ealing – 8
  • Lewisham – 7
  • Bromley – 6
  • Hillingdon – 6
  • Southwark – 5
  • Brent – 5
  • Greenwich – 5
  • Harrow – 5
  • Hounslow – 5
  • Croydon – 4
  • Hammersmith and Fulham – 3
  • Westminster – 3
  • Sutton – 2
  • Bexley – 1
  • Kensington and Chelsea – 1
  • Merton – 1
  • Newham – 1
  • Richmond upon Thames – 1
  • Waltham Forest – 1

There has also been one suspected case of Strep A necrotising fasciitis – a very rare and life-threatening condition that can happen if a wound gets infected – in Bromley; and five cases of Streptococcal Group A “other invasive infection”, two in Lambeth, two in Southwark and one in Wandsworth.

This leaves 11 other boroughs that haven’t seen a suspected case of Strep A this year. They are: Barking and Dagenham, Barnet, Camden, Enfield, Hackney, Havering, Haringey, Islington, Kingston upon Thames, Redbridge and Tower Hamlets.

In the past week alone the UKHSA received 25 iGAS notifications – the highest number received during a single week, including six of the suspected cases in the capital.

Strep A symptoms

The disease can be particularly nasty for children (Image: Getty/deineka)

Dr Colin Brown, deputy director of the UKHSA, said: “Scarlet fever and ‘strep throat’ will make children feel unwell, but can be easily treated with antibiotics. Symptoms to look out for include fever, sore throat, swollen glands, difficulty swallowing, and headache.

“Scarlet fever causes a sandpapery rash on the body and a swollen tongue. NHS services are under huge pressure this winter, but please visit NHS.UK, contact 111 online or your GP surgery if your child has symptoms of scarlet fever or ‘strep throat’ so they can be assessed for treatment.

“At this time of year, there are lots of winter illnesses circulating that can make children unwell. Most of these can be managed at home and NHS.UK has information to help parents look after children with mild illness.

“It is very rare that a child will go on to become more seriously ill, but as parents you know better than anyone else what your child is usually like, so you’ll know when they are not responding as they would normally.

“Make sure you speak to a healthcare professional if your child is getting worse after a bout of scarlet fever, a sore throat or respiratory infection – look out for signs such as a fever that won’t go down, dehydration, extreme tiredness, intense muscle pains, difficulty breathing or breathing very fast.”

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