NHS can adequately deal with increasing Strep A infections, says Yousaf

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Scotland’s health service is “adequately able” to deal with infections of Strep A despite warnings of an increase in cases, Humza Yousaf has said.

The Health Secretary has reassured families amid a surge in cases of the illness, with at least nine children reportedly dying after contracting it in the UK.

There have currently been no deaths in Scotland from the Group A Streptococcus (Gas) condition, which typically affects the throat and skin.

Public Health Scotland (PHS) said on Monday there had been eight reports of invasive infection in the country in children under the age of 10.

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Health Secretary Humza Yousaf has reassured parents on rising Strep A cases in children (Jane Barlow/PA)

Speaking during a visit to NHS Tayside’s accident and emergency on Wednesday, he told the PA news agency: “My clinical advisers tell me that we would expect to see an increase of Strep A cases in the coming weeks.”

He added: “Is the health service adequately able to deal with those cases? Yes.

“Healthcare professionals from primary care to secondary care have been given additional information around signs and symptoms to look out for, so they are very vigilant with that.

The symptoms can include a sudden sore throat, painful swallowing, fever and red and swollen tonsils.

The Health Secretary addressed the condition in Holyrood on Tuesday as he told MSPs that the NHS was “on alert” and guidance was being issued for nurseries and schools.

And on Wednesday, he stressed the importance of vigilance to parents. He said: “I want to give reassurance to parents and guardians of children to say it’s really important you’re vigilant about the signs and symptoms.

“Get information about that on NHS Inform, for example, but do remember the vast majority, the vast bulk, of Strep A cases present as mild illness that can be very easily treated with antibiotics.”

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