HSE confirm four cases of Strep A where children died
They are "exceptionally rare".
The HSE has confirmed there have been four deaths related to Strep A in Ireland, with two being linked to children.
HSE Chief Clinical Officer Dr Colm Henry has said that each of these deaths is a "tragic case" but noted that they are "exceptionally rare".
Speaking on RTÉ's Morning Ireland, Dr Henry said that the Streptococcus bug is "much more common" and leads to a sore throat and scarlet fever.
"Death is exceptionally rare in children and for the great majority of children who have sore throats and fevers, they can be managed safely at home," Dr Henry said.
While there is currently a shortage of basic antibiotics such as amoxicillin, Dr Henry said that there is enough still "for streptococcal illness or for any other common bacterial illness".
"We have enough antibiotics to deal with people who require antibiotics, based on the solid clinical indications that general practitioners will be very familiar with out there in the community," Dr Henry added.
Strep A infections are typically mild and can be treated with a round of antibiotics, and cause skin infection impetigo, scarlet fever and strep throat.
Symptoms of scarlet fever include sore throat, headache and fever, along with a fine, pinkish or red body rash with a "sandpapery" feel, but on darker skin, the rash can be harder to see but will still be "sandpapery".
While it is rare, Strep A infections can sometimes develop into a more serious invasive Group A Strep (iGAS) infection.
In a letter sent to schools and other childcare facilities earlier this month, the HSE advised that any children with fever, cough and sore throat should be kept home to fight off a "significant increase in viral infections".
It stated that "there has been a large increase in general viral infections among children and young people this winter. There have also been recent concerns about a rare bacterial infection... iGAS... also known as Group A Strep".
And they also said that "Ireland has seen cases of more serious (Group A Strep) infections recently", but said that "so far the rate of serious infection is below the level seen before the Covid-19 pandemic".