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17th Apr 2023

Parents of young girl who died of Strep A remember her final words


The parents of a young girl who sadly died after contracting Strep A have recalled her last few days as a reminder for other parents to be aware of the illness.

Vivienne Murphy tragically died in 2019 at the age of 10 years old only two weeks after complaining she had a sore throat.

Her other symptoms included a high temperature, aches, pains and a rash.

Vivienne’s parents Lilly and Dermot appeared on RTÉ’s This Week on Sunday to again raise awareness of Strep A and how it has impacted their lives.

“We both got a bit of a shock. When we opened her shirt and took off her school clothes, we saw this rash,” Dermot said.

Vivienne arrived home from school in February 2019 complaining that she was feeling unwell, with her brother Stephen calling his parents to come home.

After various visits to GPs over the following days, Vivienne was taken to Cork University Hospital. Following blood tests, Lilly and Dermot were told Vivienne was critically ill and needed to be brought to Temple Street Children’s Hospital.

After waiting hours for an ambulance to bring them there, Dermot recalled this was when Vivienne said her final words.

He said: “She said “thank you, nurse, I’m sorry for crying. I know you’re only trying to help me”.

“That was the dignity she had. They were her last words on this planet. She had so much empathy. The world is a sadder place without her.”

According to the HSE, Strep A is a common bacteria found in the throat or skin, usually causing mild illnesses like sore throats and skin infections. In rarer cases, it can cause a severe and life-threatening condition called invasive group A streptococcal disease (iGAS)

Following Vivienne’s death, Lilly and Dermot are calling for more awareness of the dangers of the illness if it is not spotted earlier.

The HPSC in Ireland listed the symptoms of scarlet fever to look out for.

Symptoms include a fever, a rash, flushed cheeks, and a sore throat. Your child will also have a swollen tongue.

The tongue may be covered in a white coating. This coating will peel and leave the tongue swollen and red. This is known as ‘strawberry tongue’.

The rash is typically found in the joint creases, as well as over the child’s stomach. It can feel rough, like sandpaper.

Children who contract scarlet fever will often have a mild infection. Complications are rare, but they are still possible.

Related links:

Thousands raised for Dublin girl who lost all four of her limbs

HSE explains how children contract Strep A

Family of girl who died after late Strep A diagnosis speak out


Cork,Strep A