The young girl, a pupil of Black Mountain Primary School in west Belfast, became seriously ill last week with a severe form of strep A and was treated in intensive care at Royal Belfast Hospital for Sick Children, before sadly passing away on Monday (5 December).
It is said that the UK is experiencing a widespread outbreak of strep A and also scarlet fever, which can occur as a result of the infection.
Paula has said: “On behalf of the Alliance Party, I would like to extend my deepest sympathies to the family of the young girl. These are such sad and tragic circumstances for her loved ones and the entire school community. Their pain at this time is unimaginable, and my thoughts are with them today.
“The prevalence of strep A infection this winter and the complications we are seeing develop in some cases are very worrying, especially in cases in young children. I welcome the swift intervention of the Public Health Agency (PHA) and would encourage parents to avail of the preventative course of antibiotics on offer for their child(ren) where available.
“With Christmas coming and more socialising than usual occurring, it is so important that all parents are more vigilant than usual for the signs and symptoms of their child’s condition becoming more serious, as published by the PHA, and seek urgent medical attention if you have any concerns.”