BNSSG Healthier Together

Group A Strep: The symptoms to look out for


Group A streptococcus (GAS) is a common bacteria. Lots of us carry it in our throats and on our skin and it doesn’t always result in illness. However, GAS does cause a number of infections, some mild and some more serious.

The most serious infections linked to GAS come from invasive group A strep, known as iGAS.

These infections are caused by the bacteria getting into parts of the body where it is not normally found, such as the lungs or bloodstream. In rare cases an iGAS infection can be fatal.

The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) has confirmed an increase in cases of Group A Strep, especially in children under the age of 10 years old.

Professor Dominic Mellon, Regional Deputy Director for UKHSA South West, spoke to BBC Points West about the symptoms to look out for and what parents should do:


Symptoms to look out for in your child include:

  • Sore throat
  • Headache
  • Fever
  • 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.


As a parent, if you feel that your child seems seriously unwell, you should trust your own judgement.

Contact your GP or NHS 111 if:

  • your child is getting worse
  • your child is feeding or eating much less than normal
  • your child has had a dry nappy for 12 hours or more or shows
    other signs of dehydration
  • your baby is under 3 months and has a temperature of 38C, or is
    older than 3 months and has a temperature of 39C or higher
  • your baby feels hotter than usual when you touch their back or chest, or feels sweaty
  • your child is very tired or irritable

Call 999 or go to A&E if:

  • your child is having difficulty breathing – you may notice grunting
    noises or their tummy sucking under their ribs
  • there are pauses when your child breathes
  • your child’s skin, tongue or lips are blue
  • your child is floppy, is not waking up or staying awake.
UKHSA letter to parents and carers of children (6 December 2022)

The latest information about Group A Strep can be found on the UKHSA website.

Learn more about keeping under 5s well this winter on UKHSA’s blog.