“Ask for help immediately if you have these symptoms”. This is the appeal launched by the health authorities after the death of twelve people. Yesterday at least 32 cases of disease were revealed, called invasive group A streptococcus,  iGAS.

The alarm was triggered in Essex, UK, where cases of illness were recorded. About one-third of people diagnosed died, said the NHS Mid Essex clinical group. The bacteria can be found in the throat and on the skin and can live long enough for them to spread easily among people through sneezing, kissing and skin contact.

British public health yesterday warned that there was a “high risk” of further deaths following the ongoing epidemic. Speaking with Metro.co.uk, a spokeswoman said today that the symptoms people should try to recognise are those of “bacteria in a wound”. He said: “If there is a difference in a wound, that could be a symptom. Examine additional pains, redness around the outside, excess heat or discharge from the wound area. Other symptoms include fever or feeling of malaise, fatigue or loss of appetite. Some people may have only one symptom. “

According to experts, the additional symptoms include sore throat, swollen lymph nodes in the neck, dilated tonsils, rashes, collections of pus on the tonsils, tiny red patches on the palate, headaches and abdominal pains. Health authorities advise people to visit the family doctor immediately if they believe they have any of the symptoms listed above. General practitioners can then draw blood or buffer the infected area to see if there is an iGAS infection.

Rachel Hearn, director of nursing and quality care, from the clinical group at Mid Essex Hospital, said: “Our thoughts are directed to the families of those patients who died. The Essex National Health Service is working closely with Public Health England and other partners to manage this local problem, and extra infection control measures have been put in place to prevent the spread of infection to the area. The risk of contracting iGAS is very low for the vast majority of peopleand treatment with antibiotics is very effective if started early. We will continue to work with our partners in Public Health England to investigate how this outbreak occurred and take every possible step to ensure the protection of our local community”.

Dr. Jorg Hoffman, deputy director of health protection for PHE East of England, told the BBC: “I can’t deny that there is still a risk going on until we can declare that this epidemic is over.”