A grieving family of a child who died after contracting Strep A has issued a warning to parents.
Muhammed Ibrahim Ali, aged 4, died at his home on Monday 14 November after suffering a cardiac arrest.
He was given antibiotics to treat a rash and had a cough and stomach pains prior to his death.
Yesterday, his funeral was attended by family and teaching staff alike from Oakridge School and Nursery in High Wycombe.
Azra Ali, Muhammed Ibrahim Ali’s aunt, has since issued a warning to parents in a bid to spread awareness of the infection.
“Whatever his body was trying to fight his heart couldn’t handle it. It’s shocking and I feel really upset”, she told Bucks Free Press.
“Parents are unaware of the symptoms. It’s not a disease, the boy died on the same evening, he was slowly dying even though she [Shabana] made several trips to the doctors. The more we stress it out and let people know, the more people can come forward and are aware of symptoms.”
Group A Streptococcus bacteria can cause a variety of infections ranging from minor illnesses to serious and deadly diseases. These include impetigo, scarlet fever and strep throat.
The UK Health Security Agency notes that there have been five recorded deaths in England of children under 10 within a week of diagnosis. It has urged parents to “look out for symptoms” including a sore throat, headache and fever along with a fine, pinkish or red body rash with a sandpapery feel.
Oakridge School and Nursery – where Ali attended reception – has started a JustGiving campaign in his memory.
“We know that following the devastating news that one of our Reception children, Ibrahim, died earlier this week, many parents and members of the school community will want to contribute to the memory of Ibrahim”, Head Teacher Stuart Cook wrote.
“We want to create a lasting memorial in the school, so that there is always a place at Oakridge for Ibrahim – a place where he was so very happy.”
The money raised by the campaign will go towards both Ali’s memorial and a charity of the family’s choosing. With an original target set of £500, the page has since raised over £4000.
Colin Brown, deputy director of the health agency, said: “We are seeing a higher number of cases of group A strep this year than usual.
“The bacteria usually causes a mild infection producing sore throats or scarlet fever that can be easily treated with antibiotics.
“In very rare circumstances, this bacteria can get into the bloodstream and cause serious illness – called invasive group A strep (iGAS). This is still uncommon. However, it is important that parents are on the lookout for symptoms and see a doctor as quickly as possible so that their child can be treated and we can stop the infection becoming serious.
“Make sure you talk to a health professional if your child is showing signs of deteriorating after a bout of scarlet fever, a sore throat, or a respiratory infection.”
The government agency says scarlet fever is usually a mild illness, but it is highly infectious, so parents should look out for symptoms that include a sore throat, headache and fever, along with a fine, pinkish or red body rash with a sandpapery feel.
“On darker skin the rash can be more difficult to detect visually but will have a sandpapery feel,” they warn.