Concern is growing in Greece about streptococcus (strep), which contributed to death of an 8-year-old child at the Aglaia Kyriakou hospital on Tuesday, and is on the rise amongst children under the age of 10.

The President of the Panhellenic Federation of Public Hospital Employees Michalis Giannakos confirmed that the child passed away shortly after being brought to the hospital with a high fever and testing positive for strep, and cautioned parents to be vigilant during the winter months.

Medical professionals are still investigating the extent to which strep played in the death of the child.

Strep is a bacterial infection that is considered highly contagious, and is primarily spread through droplets when someone cough or sneezes or through shared food or drinks.

Its key symptoms are sore throat, pain swallowing, swollen tonsils, fever, headache, swollen lymph nodes, rash, red spots on the back of the roof of the mouth, nausea or vomiting and body aches.

It is easily treated with antibiotics but if left unattended can lead to kidney inflammation of rheumatic fever, which causes painful joint inflammation, a rash and even heart valve damage.

Parents should contact their child’s pediatrician if an ill child: loses their appetite, appears dehydrated, symptoms don’t improve, is a baby under 3 months of age and has a fever over 38 degrees Celsius, is over 3 months of age and has a fever of 39 degrees Celsius or above, the child appears lethargic.