Group A Streptococcus Outbreak in Mid Essex

Content from Healthwatch Essex


As part of the ongoing iGAS outbreak in mid Essex, NHS Mid Essex Clinical Commissioning Group has confirmed that a further patient has been diagnosed with iGAS and is currently being treated. In addition, as part of the monitoring and risk assessments of this outbreak, Public Health England (PHE) have further reviewed how cases are defined in this outbreak to ensure that all appropriate cases are captured and investigated. As a result, an additional case has been added to the total outbreak count. This patient passed away with sepsis earlier this year. Therefore, the total number of patients affected by the iGAS outbreak is 34 and 13 of those patients have sadly died.

Those affected within the iGAS outbreak are older people in Braintree District, Chelmsford City and Maldon District. The majority of patients were receiving treatment for wounds, with some in care homes but most in their own homes. Of the 34 confirmed cases, one case was identified in Basildon in 2018 and one case in Southend in February 2019. There does not appear to be a direct link between the cases in south Essex and mid Essex.

NHS Mid Essex Clinical Commissioning Group is leading an incident management team and is working hard with colleagues to manage the situation. To read more about what they are doing visit their website here.

The local NHS Freephone helpline number, 03000 032124, is open Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm, for anyone with concerns about iGAS infection.

You may find the following information, provided by Mid-Essex Clinical Commissioning Group, helpful:

What is Group A Streptococcus (GAS) and how does it spread?
GAS is a bacterium, full name Streptococcus pyogenes, it is sometimes found in the throat or on the skin and usually causes no symptoms.GAS is spread by contact or by droplets from the respiratory tract, when sneezing or coughing. People may carry GAS in their throat or on their skin, which would make them a carrier, also referred to as colonised. Carriers often have no symptoms of illness.

What infections are caused by GAS?
Most GAS infections result in illnesses such as a sore throat (this can be called ’strep throat’) or a skin infection such as impetigo or scarlet fever. On rare occasions, these bacteria can cause other more severe diseases, for example blood stream infections (septicaemia).

What is invasive group A streptococcal (iGAS)?
iGAS is rare but serious. It can occur when bacteria gets into parts of the body where bacteria usually are not found, such as the blood, muscle, or the lungs. These infections are called invasive GAS. In the current outbreak patients with iGAS have suffered septicaemia (blood stream) infection.

What are the signs and symptoms of invasive Group A Streptococcal?

  • High fever
  • Severe muscle aches
  • Pain in one area of the body
  • Redness at the site of a wound
  • Vomiting or diarrhoea

What should I do if I think I have any of the symptoms of iGAS?
If you develop any of the symptoms of iGAS contact your GP or seek medical advice immediately. Tell your GP that you have been in contact with someone with invasive GAS and that you have developed some symptoms that you are worried about.

It is very likely that your GP will ask you to come into the surgery so you can be examined. If you are too unwell to visit the surgery or it is closed, do not delay seeking medical advice and contact NHS111 or visit https://111.nhs.uk