Witham MP monitors rare bacterial infection outbreak in Essex

Published: 26th June 2019 - 4:40 pm Category: Local News

The MP for Witham, Priti Patel has been advised by the Mid-Essex Clinical Commissioning Group that there has been a small outbreak of strep, a rare bacterial infection in Essex which has affected three residents in her constituency.

According to the CCG, there have been 32 reported cases of invasive Group A streptococcus (iGAS), commonly known as strep and the outbreak is believed to have started in Braintree.  It has since spread to the Chelmsford and Maldon areas. Streptococcal infections are unpleasant but are not usually life-threatening except where very elderly patients are concerned.

Of the 32 cases so far identified, 12 patients have passed away. The average age of the patients affected is 87.  Patients being treated for chronic wounds either in their own homes or in care homes are most vulnerable. Strep can cause illnesses like tonsillitis or scarlet fever.  However, this invasive infection can also, in rare cases, cause pneumonia, sepsis or a condition called necrotising fasciitis.

Ms Patel said: “I am naturally concerned about this outbreak, particularly as two out of the three people affected in Witham constituency have since passed away.  I am working closely with the Mid Essex CCG, who are providing me with regular updates on the work the NHS is doing to manage and control the situation.  This includes enhanced infection prevention measures and higher use of personal protective equipment as well as studies of case histories to establish where the outbreak began and how it is spreading.  I will continue to monitor the situation.

“Thankfully, the numbers involved are small and, hopefully, the work the NHS is doing to prevent further infections will rapidly bring the outbreak under control, if it hasn’t done so already. My condolences go to anyone who has recently lost a relative to this outbreak.”

Anyone with concerns about this infection should contact the Mid-Essex CCG helpline on 03000 032124 (during office hours). Updates on the Essex outbreak are also available at:  https://midessexccg.nhs.uk/news/1056-streptococcus-outbreak-in-mid-essex.

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