How Common Is Strep A UK?

The UK is currently experiencing an outbreak of Strep A. So far, the bacterial infection has claimed 236 fatalities, as the bacteria can potentially release toxins that cause a drop in blood pressure, in turn, compromising the function of the kidneys, liver and lungs.

In this article, we will answer the question ‘how common is Strep A UK?’, which we hope will make you better informed about the bacterial infection.

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What is Strep A?

Strep A refers to Group A Streptococcus (GAS) pyogenes, which are bacteria that can colonise the throat, skin, and anogenital tract. The bacteria can cause mild illness, which can be treated with antibiotics. In some cases, the infection can spread throughout the body, which can lead to severe illness and even death.

A person might not realise that they have been infected with Strep A, as they may attribute their symptoms to a common cold, flu, or Covid-19.

Strep A is most common in children between 5 and 15 years old, but it can occur in people of all ages.

Invasive Group A Streptococcus (iGAS) can also cause scarlet fever, a contagious infection which mostly affects young children. Symptoms of scarlet fever include a high temperature, swollen neck glands, a sore throat, and flu-like symptoms.

 What are the symptoms of Strep A?

Look out for the symptoms below, which indicate a Strep A infection:

How common is Strep A UK?

So, how common is Strep A UK?

As of 19 January 2023, the UK Government announced that “invasive Strep A infections remain rare, but are currently higher than we see in a typical year.”

The Government also stated that the number of Strep A infections in children has decreased, but not in older age groups, especially those over 65 years old.

The areas where Strep A infections have been reported the most is the Yorkshire and Humber region, followed by the North East, South East and North West regions.

Is Strep A contagious?

Yes, Strep A is contagious and it can be passed on from one person to the next. For example, if an infected person sneezes or coughs near someone, or has close contact with them, then that person can also become infected with Strep A. What happens is the bacteria-filled droplets released from sneezing or coughing spray into the air, which can infect somebody else.

You can also catch Strep A by touching a surface where the bacteria-filled droplets have landed (such as a doorknob or table), and then rubbing your eyes, nose or mouth.

Alternatively, Strep A can spread through kissing an infected person or sharing objects with them, such as a toothbrush, spoon, fork or drinking glass.

You may be at greater risk of catching Strep A if you have a weakened immune system, open sores or wounds, or if you have a viral infection such as a cold or flu.

People are generally no longer considered to be contagious after a full 24 hours of taking treatment for the infection.

Can I take a test to see if I have Strep A?

Yes, there is a self-test available which tells you whether you have been infected with Strep A.

At Official Rapid Tests, we sell a Strep A Home Test, which is a test that you can take from the comfort of your home.

This rapid test detects the presence of group A streptococcal antigen, which causes a number of bacterial infections such as Strep A, Scarlet Fever, Tonsilitis and Impetigo.

So, how do you test for Strep A?

All you have to do is take a throat swab, and the test will generate your results in just 10 minutes.

The test has a shelf life of 6 months, so you can have it in your home to keep yourself and your loved ones safe.

Click here to purchase the Wondfo One Step Strep A Home Test, and get your results in just 10 minutes.

What treatment is available for Strep A?

Strep A infections can be treated with antibiotics such as Penicillin or amoxicillin.

Your physician will prescribe the appropriate medication if you or your child has become ill with Strep A.

Taking paracetamol or ibuprofen (or the appropriate equivalent for children) can help ease symptoms.

What should I do if my child becomes ill with Strep A?

Consult a doctor as soon as possible, so that your child can access antibiotics to make them feel better.

Keep your child off school or nursery, and away from people and public places, to reduce the spread of the infection. Your child should stay off school until at least 24 hours after the start of antibiotic treatment.

If your child’s symptoms worsen, then book an urgent GP appointment or call NHS 111, especially if your child:

  • is feeding or eating much less than normal.
  • has fewer wet nappies than usual or is urinating less than usual, or shows other signs of dehydration.
  • is under 3 months and has a temperature of 38C, or is 3 to 6 months and has a temperature of 39C or higher.
  • is very tired or irritable.

It is serious if your child experiences the following symptoms, so you should call 999 or visit A&E if:

  • your child is having difficulty breathing.
  • there are pauses when your child breathes.
  • your child’s skin, tongue or lips are blue or grey.
  • your child is floppy and will not wake up or stay awake.

What should I do if I become ill with Strep A?

Take the following steps if you suspect you have become infected with Strep A:

  • Take a Strep A test, to detect whether the group A streptococcus bacteria is present in your system.
  • Consult a doctor or medical professional, who can prescribe you antibiotics to treat the infection.
  • Seek medical attention if your symptoms worsen, or don’t go away after a week.
  • Stay home if you can, and avoid mixing with other people, so that you don’t infect them.
  • Get plenty of rest, as you may experience symptoms such as a high temperature, sore throat, and body aches.
  • Hydrate with plenty of water and fluids, as this enables your blood to circulate more freely, allowing your white blood cells to fight off infection faster.
  • Gargle with salt water, to get rid of bacteria in the throat. Children should never do this, however.
  • Suck on throat lozenges, to keep the throat moist and soothed.
  • Take painkillers to manage headaches and body aches, but never more than the recommended dosage.
  • Try eating soft, warm foods, which are easier to handle if you have a sore throat, such as soups, herbal teas and mashed potatoes.
  • Don’t resume your daily activities (such as going to the gym or swimming) until you have completely recovered.


At Official Rapid Tests, we are a UK Government listed testing provider. We are a team of medical industry experts, with a combined experience of 40 years in the testing, diagnostic and medical services sector.

With our services, it couldn’t be easier for you to test yourself (or your loved ones) for Covid-19. All you have to do is buy one of our Covid tests, which can be delivered the next day. Alternatively, book a Covid test at one of our test centres, as we have over 120 clinics all over the UK.

Our Covid tests are perfect for using as proof that you have negative Covid status if you are travelling. With every negative result, you will receive a signed note from one of our doctors, declaring that you are Covid-free and fit to travel.

To book a Covid Test with us at your nearest test centre, click here.

We sell a Rapid Antigen TestVideo Supervised Lateral Flow Test and a Covid Recovery Certificate, which you can use as proof that you are fit to travel abroad.

If you are not sure what kind of Covid Test you need, then click here to take our quiz. This will tell you which type of Covid test is suitable based on your travel requirements.

Check out our blog to read more articles about health tests, travel testing, and Covid-19.

We hope this article has answered the question ‘how common is Strep A UK?’

Click here to purchase our Strep A Test, which is a self-test that tells you whether you are infected with Strep A in just 10 minutes.