Essex

Strep A outbreak: Fourteenth person dies

Streptococcus pyogenes Image copyright BSIP/Getty Images
Image caption The outbreak of Group A streptococcal infection began in Braintree

A 14th person has died in an outbreak of a deadly bacteria, health officials have said.

Mid Essex Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) has called in a team to investigate the spread of the invasive Group A Streptococcus (iGAS) bacterium.

The strain has been linked to at least 33 confirmed cases, with four probable ones.

The outbreak was discovered in Braintree, and cases have been found in Chelmsford and Maldon.

In a statement the CCG said: "We have been informed that a patient in mid-Essex who had previously been treated for iGAS earlier in the year has sadly died. Our thoughts are with their family."

It did not disclose when the person died.

Those affected were older people and the majority were receiving treatment for wounds, some in care homes but most in their own homes.

An independent investigation has been launched into the outbreak by the NHS Serious Incident Framework.

Public Health England (PHE) is using a new tool to analyse the DNA sequence of the bacteria, allowing it to identify people affected by the same strain.

The technique has shown that a case in Basildon in 2018 and one in Southend this year are not linked to the outbreak.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Mid Essex CCG said the risk of healthy people contracting iGAS was "very low"

The CCG said infection prevention control measures were in place, and PHE had recommended enhanced measures including swabbing and testing of staff and patients.

PHE said most of the cases could be linked with community nursing treatment and a deep-clean of nursing bases was ordered.

The CCG said the risk of healthy people contracting iGAS was "very low", and antibiotic treatment was "very effective" if started promptly.

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