The science publication Nature is among others that are exploring the theory that Streptococcus A, a severe bacterial infection that can lead to death, is spiking in children due to the extended government lockdowns during the Covid pandemic that may have weakened their immune systems.
It’s a theory that a molecular microbiologist at the University of Sheffield, in the United Kingdom, says may have credence, since children who were locked down didn’t build up an immunity to Strep. Thirteen children in England under the age of 15 have died of Strep since September.
Strep usually starts as a sore throat and can end up as Scarlet Fever. It’s treated with antibiotics, but if not caught in time can cause meningitis, toxic shock syndrome, and flesh eating bacteria.
“There are a lot of things that seem to be a bit strange happening after the lockdowns,” Turner said. “But it’s hard to say whether that’s causing the surge right now, especially given that we have had surges prior to the pandemic.”
“To my knowledge, we’ve never seen a peak like this at this time of year, at least not for decades,” microbiologist Shiranee Sriskandan at Imperial College London told the publication.
It’s not just happening in England. A rise in Strep has been found in other countries, such as the Netherlands and the United States. Two young children in Denver have died from the illness, the CDC said in a Dec. 22 health alert.
The CDC warned in its health advisory “these severe and invasive diseases are associated with high mortality rates and require immediate treatment, including appropriate antibiotic therapy.”
Unfortunately, according to the CDC, there is a national shortage of the liquid antibiotic known as amoxicillin suspension, the drug most often prescribed to young children to treat group A strep infections. The shortage is anticipated to last several months.
An unusual rise in other diseases is also being seen, with exceptional surges in influenza, chicken pox, and respiratory syncytial virus, also known as RSV.