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Hospital ward closed after fatal streptococcus outbreak

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A Drumchapel Hospital ward has been closed following a Group A streptococcal bacterial outbreak that claimed the life of an elderly patient, a health board has revealed.

The 86-year-old woman, who had serious underlying health conditions, died 10 days ago at the hospital in Glasgow.

Officials isolated the ward due to the “higher than anticipated” incidences of the bacterial infection last Wednesday. Six patients and one member of staff are currently displaying mild symptoms and are responding well to treatment, an NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde spokesman said.

All six patients are being nursed in isolation and the member of staff will remain at home until treatment is completed.

Other patients and members of staff have been swabbed and tested to see if they are carrying the virus.

GAS infections are caused by streptococcus pyogenes, a bacterium that is commonly found on the skin or in the nose and throat. It is involved in a range of conditions, from carrying the bug without symptoms, to a mild sore throat and more serious invasive infections such as infections of the bloodstream.

Dr Teresa Inkster, NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde infection control doctor and chair of the outbreak control team, said: “We would like to extend our deepest sympathies to the family of the patient who has sadly passed away.

“As soon as we became aware of an increased number of cases, the ward was closed and a range of additional infection control measures were put in place to limit any spread of infection.

“All patients affected are being nursed in isolation and have been put on a course of medication to treat the infection.

“Often people can have Group A strep without even knowing it or suffering from any ill effects. Because of this, we have swabbed all patients and no more have been found to have the infection.

“We are also swabbing staff to check for any further individuals who may have the bacteria but are not displaying any symptoms. This process will be complete over the next few days.”

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