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Should I be concerned?

While we understand that parents are likely to be worried by reports they are seeing related to iGAS, cases of invasive group A streptococcal infection (iGAS) remain rare in Wales, and children have a very low risk of contracting the disease.

In most cases, infection with streptococcal A bacteria causes scarlet fever, usually a mild illness.

Cold and flu like symptoms are very common at this time of year, especially in children.  Most children with these symptoms will have a common seasonal virus, which can be treated by keeping the child hydrated, and with paracetamol.

Some children with cold and flu like symptoms - sore throat, headache, fever - may be experiencing some of the early symptoms of scarlet fever, which also circulates at this time of year.  These children will go on to develop scarlet fever specific symptoms, including a fine pink-red rash that feels like sandpaper to touch, and parents should contact their GP if they see these symptoms.

While scarlet fever is more concerning than a common cold, it is still usually a mild illness from which most children will recover without complications, especially if the condition is properly treated with antibiotics.

In very rare cases, group A streptococcal infection can cause iGAS, a rare complication which affects fewer than 20 children in Wales each year.  Although iGAS is a worrying condition, the majority of these children will recover with proper treatment.

The best thing that parents can do is to provide the care they would usually provide for a child with cold and flu like symptoms, but to familiarise themselves with the symptoms of scarlet fever and iGAS as a precaution