DENVER (KDVR) — The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment says two children, younger than school aged, have died from group A strep.

Both children were from the Denver metro area. Their identities and ages have not been released.

CDPHE said there has been an increase in pediatric hospitalizations caused by group A strep. The total number of group A strep cases in Colorado among pediatric patients since Nov. 1 is at 11. There are typically one or two cases of group A strep per month in children younger than 18, CDPHE said.

What is group A strep?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said bacteria called group A Streptococcus, or group A strep, can cause many different infections. The infections range from minor illnesses to very serious and deadly diseases.

Here are some of the infections caused by group A strep:

What are symptoms of group A strep?

Here are some of the symptoms of group A strep, according to CDPHE:

  • Sore throat
  • Fever and chills
  • New rashes, skin bumps, or red patches of skin that may be painful
  • Some severe group A strep infections may occur as a complication of common respiratory infections like RSV, flu, or COVID-19.

Is there a vaccine to prevent group A strep?

CDPHE said there is no vaccine to prevent group A strep, but there are steps parents, guardians, and caregivers can take to help protect children and families:

  • Stay up to date with COVID-19, flu, and chickenpox vaccines
  • Stay home if you are sick
  • Practice good hand hygiene by washing your hands regularly using soap and water or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.

CDPHE said the last reported death in a pediatric patient with group A strep in Colorado was in 2018.