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Group A Strepococcus Outbreak

28 June 2019
Following the outbreak of Group A Strepococcus in mid Essex and the very sad death of 12 patients, Public Health England (PHE) and the NHS have been working closely to manage this incident, and extra infection control measures have been put in place to prevent the infection spreading in the area.

The NHS in the mid Essex area is responding to a number of local cases of bacterial infections among elderly people, most of whom were receiving wound care in their own homes, though some were also in care homes.

Group A streptococcus (GAS) is a bacteria that can be found in the throat and on the skin and for many people will not cause any illness. Most Group A streptococcus infections cause relatively mild illnesses such as ‘strep throat’ (a sore throat), scarlet fever or a skin infection. There is an extremely low risk of serious infection to healthy people but on rare occasions, these bacteria can enter the body and cause severe and even life-threatening conditions.

Whilst this outbreak is currently within a healthcare setting, as with other outbreaks like this, the NHS and PHE recommend practicing good hand hygiene and infection control measures.

The Infection Control Society offers a guidance document on GAS, which you will find on their website:

Hand Hygiene - “HCWs must adhere to strict hand hygiene policy using an effective technique i.e. hand washing with soap and water or decontamination with alcohol hand rub before and after contact with the patient and/or their environment, regardless of the use of gloves and other protective measures.”

Environmental Cleaning “…isolation room, furniture and equipment must be cleaned daily as a minimum and terminal cleaning undertaken. Detergent and water followed by hypochlorite at 1000 ppm, or a combined product, is recommended for all environmental and equipment cleaning where a patient is known to have an infection, healthcare associated or otherwise.”

Our hand hygiene and infection control guidance can be found via our Brochures page on our website:




Anyone concerned about the outbreak can call the Clinical Commissioning Group's freephone helpline on 0300 003 2124.

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