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Rare bacteria outbreak kills 12 people

NHS Mid Essex CCG says infection control measures are in place after 32 reported cases of invasive Group A streptococcus

NHS Mid Essex Clinical Commissioning Group says infection control measures are in place after 32 reported cases of invasive Group A streptococcus


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Extra infection control measures have been put in place after 12 people in Essex died of a rare bacterial infection.

There have been 32 reported cases of invasive Group A streptococcus (iGAS) in the recent outbreak, the NHS Mid Essex Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) said.

The CCG said the infection had started in Braintree and has since spread to the Chelmsford and Maldon areas, but did not give a timeline for this.

Public Health England called the outbreak a 'local incident'.

Life-threatening

The bacteria is found in the throat and on the skin and people may carry it without displaying symptoms.

It can live in throats and on hands for long enough to allow easy spread between people through sneezing, kissing and skin contact.

In a report, the CCG said the sometimes life-threatening iGAS disease may occur when bacteria get into parts of the body where bacteria usually are not found, such as the blood, muscle or lungs.

It said that most of the patients affected are older people who had been receiving care for chronic wounds in the community, either in their own homes and some in care homes,

An incident management team has been established.

Low risk

CCG director of nursing and quality Rachel Hearn said the risk of contracting iGAS is low for the majority of people and treatment with antibiotics is effective if started early.

'Our thoughts are with the families of those patients who have died,' Ms Hearn said.

'The NHS in Essex is working closely with Public Health England and other partners to manage this local incident, and extra infection control measures have been put in place to prevent the infection spreading in the area.

'We will continue to work with our partners in Public Health England to investigate how this outbreak occurred and take every possible step to ensure our local community is protected.'


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