Parents urged to take preventative measures after Strep A and chickenpox outbreak at a Jersey primary school

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THE parents of pupils in the reception classes at Grouville primary school are being advised to take measures to reduce the risk of their children contracting group A Streptococcal and chickenpox.

Both illnesses are usually mild but can go on to cause serious infections.

A rise in Strep A cases in children in the UK earlier this winter caused dozens of deaths.

Grace Norman, deputy director of public health said: “Public Health have been notified of both group A strep and chickenpox in the reception classes.

‘Both are common and highly infectious childhood illnesses, and when caught together can increase the chances of developing a more severe infection, although this is rare.

‘We are recommending a course of antibiotics for the prevention or treatment of group A strep infection, and vaccination to protect against chickenpox for children in the affected school year.

‘Although no children in the school have both group A strep and chickenpox at the same time, we are offering this precautionary measure to reduce the risk of this happening.

‘I want to provide reassurance that this is not needed for children outside of these classes at Grouville School.

‘The Public Health and Hospital Health Protection Team monitor information related to infectious diseases and the team are positioned to respond quickly if needed.

‘We are working closely with the school who have been extremely proactive in making sure that all enhanced hygiene measures are being followed to reduce the spread and are supporting us to coordinate the delivery of these preventative measures.’

Group A Streptococcal can cause infections such as scarlet fever or strep throat. Infections caused by group A strep are usually mild illnesses, but they are highly infectious and mainly affect children and young people.

Symptoms include:

• A sore throat

• Headache

• Fever (of 38c or more)

• A fine, pinkish or red body rash with a sandpapery feel

• A red face excluding the area around the mouth, and a white or red tongue.

Anyone with symptoms should seek medical advice from their GP. The government says that early treatment with antibiotics is important to reduce the risk of complications such as pneumonia or a bloodstream infection.

Anyone with scarlet fever or group A strep infection should stay at home until at least 24 hours after the start of antibiotic treatment to avoid spreading the infection to others.

The whole course of antibiotics should be completed to avoid complications.

Chickenpox usually gets better by itself within a week without needing to see a GP.

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