Government BANS export of drugs to treat strep A infections amid shortage fears
- Pharmacies have run out of stocks after the death of at least 16 children
- Ministers added antibiotics to a list of drugs that cannot be exported
- The Department of Health has continued to deny that there is a shortage
The government has banned the export of antibiotics used to treat life-threatening strep A infections amid claims of shortages.
Many pharmacies have run out of stock and wholesale prices have increased fivefold after the deaths of at least 16 children.
Ministers last night added four antibiotics to a list of medicines that cannot be exported or hoarded “because they are necessary for UK patients”.
It came as a primary school was forced to close its doors yesterday after a major outbreak.
Antibiotics have been added to a list of drugs that cannot be exported amid fears of shortages.
A staggering 40 per cent of children and 23 per cent of staff were absent at Kingsbridge Community Primary School in Devon on Tuesday.
Last week, Health Secretary Steve Barclay denied that the country was running out of antibiotics.
But Dr Leyla Hannbeck, director of the Association of Independent Multiple Pharmacies, said: “By adding these medicines to the list of prohibited exports, the government is effectively admitting there are shortages, as I have been warning for over a week.”
“They have acted too late and have denied there is a problem for too long.”
The Department of Health continued to deny last night that there was a shortage.
What are the symptoms of strep A? How does it spread? And is it the same as scarlet fever? Everything you need to know about the killer bug sweeping Britain
What is strep A?
Group A streptococcus bacteria (group A strep or A strep) can cause many different infections.
The bacteria are commonly found in the throat and on the skin, and some people have no symptoms.
Infections caused by Strep A range from minor illnesses to serious and fatal illnesses.
They include the skin infection impetigo, scarlet fever, and strep throat.
While the vast majority of infections are relatively mild, sometimes the bacteria cause a disease called invasive group A strep disease.
What is invasive group A strep disease?
Invasive group A strep disease is a sometimes life-threatening infection in which the bacteria have invaded parts of the body, such as the blood, deep muscles, or lungs.
Two of the most serious, but rare, forms of invasive disease are necrotizing fasciitis and streptococcal toxic shock syndrome.
Necrotizing fasciitis is also known as the “flesh-eating disease” and can occur if a wound becomes infected.
Streptococcal toxic shock syndrome is a rapidly progressing infection that causes low blood pressure/shock and damage to organs such as the kidneys, liver, and lungs.
This type of toxic shock has a high mortality rate.
READ MAILONLINE’S FULL QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS ABOUT STREP A.