A child has tragically died and another has been rushed to hospital following a rare bacteria outbreak at a primary school. The two youngsters, believed to be six years old, both attended Ashford Church of England Primary School in Ashford, Surrey.

Pupils and teachers are being offered strong antibiotics by specialist doctors from the UK Health Security Agency against the bacteria, known as Strep A. The infection – also known as Group A streptococcal (iGAS) – can cause symptoms including a sore throat or skin rash and is spread by physical contact or through droplets from sneezing or coughing.

The child who passed away was a Year 1 pupil, while a second student – believed to be from the same year group – was rushed to hospital with serious symptoms. It is understood that they are now showing positive signs of recovery.

A spokesman for the UK Health Security Agency confirmed that one child had died and that another had been admitted to hospital. She said: “Specialists are arranging for antibiotics to be offered to pupils and staff at a Surrey school as a precautionary measure, following two cases of invasive Group A streptococcal infection (iGAS).

“Sadly, one pupil from Ashford Church of England Primary School has died and another is in hospital, but showing positive signs of recovery.”

Both youngsters were pupils at Ashford Church of England Primary School.

Both youngsters were pupils at Ashford Church of England Primary School.

Ruth Hutchinson, Director of Public Health, Surrey County Council said: “We are deeply saddened by the death of a pupil at Ashford Church of England School and we offer our sincere condolences to their family, friends and the whole school community, who are in our thoughts.

“Our school relationships team, available 24/7, has provided the school with guidance during this tragic time and our public health team are working closely with UKHSA, school leaders and health partners to take appropriate health protection measures and ensure children, parents and carers at the school are appropriately supported.”

Letters advising of the death were sent to all parents of the CoE school and another nearby school, amid concerns that the bacteria could spread to other children in the area.

Letters have been sent home to parents.

Letters have been sent home to parents.

Dr Claire Winslade, health protection consultant at UKHSA South East, added: “We are extremely saddened to hear about the death of a pupil at Ashford Church of England School, and our thoughts are with their family, friends and the school community.

“As a precautionary measure, we have recommended antibiotics to pupils and staff in the same year groups as the individuals affected. We have provided advice to the school to help prevent further cases and will continue to monitor the situation.

“Information has been shared with parents about the signs and symptoms of iGAS, which include high fever with severe muscle aches, pain in one area of the body and unexplained vomiting or diarrhoea. Anyone with these symptoms should call NHS111 immediately.”

“Infection with Group A Streptococcus bacterium usually causes a sore throat or skin rash and is passed by physical contact or through droplets from sneezing or coughing. In very rare cases, the infection can become invasive and enter parts of the body where bacteria aren’t normally found, which can be serious.”

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