WHO, ECDC urge caution against severe strep A infections in Europe

Dec 12 (Reuters) - Europe should be vigilant against severe infections caused by a bacteria called group A Streptococcus in children below 10 years, the World Health Organization (WHO) and European Centre for Disease Control & Prevention (ECDC) said on Monday.

European countries need to raise awareness about these infections, which have been on the rise this year particularly since September, at a time of rising respiratory illnesses such as RSV and seasonal influenza, a joint statement from the agencies said.

The bacteria, which generally causes mild illness like sore throat, headache and fever can also lead to a severe, life-threatening infection known as invasive Group A streptococcal disease (iGAS).

Last week, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said it was looking at a possible spike in iGAS infections among children in the country.

Several deaths associated with iGAS disease in children aged under 10 have also been reported in some of the European countries during the period, according to the statement from WHO and ECDC. (Reporting by Raghav Mahobe in Bengaluru; Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips)