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Fifteenth death in Essex Strep A outbreak

A 15th person has died in an outbreak of a deadly bacteria, health officials have confirmed.

Mid Essex Clinical Commissioning Group said two cases dating back to 2018 of the invasive Group A Streptococcus (iGAS) bacterium had been identified.

The strain has been linked to at least 33 confirmed cases, with six probable ones.

One of the historical cases had resulted in the death of the patient, the CCG said.

The outbreak was discovered in Braintree, and cases have been found in Chelmsford and Maldon.

In a statement the CCG said it had discovered the cases as part of a review by Public Health England (PHE) to make sure all cases of iGAS in the past 18 months had been checked for a link to the mid Essex outbreak.

It said: “They were identified following a thorough review of all iGAS cases on laboratory databases, using patient data from Provide Community Interest Company, who provide the majority of our community services in mid Essex.

“Sadly one of these patients died in 2018.”

Both cases were in mid Essex and receiving treatment for wounds in their own home or care home.

Those affected were older people and the majority were receiving treatment for wounds, some in care homes but most in their own homes.

An independent investigation has been launched into the outbreak by the NHS Serious Incident Framework.

The CCG has said infection prevention control measures are in place, and PHE had recommended enhanced measures including swabbing and testing of staff and patients.

The risk of healthy people contracting iGAS is “very low”, and antibiotic treatment is “very effective” if started promptly, the CCG has said.