Primary school children could be given antibiotics as a blanket prevention measure against Strep A if their year group had been hit by a case.

The plan was floated by health minister Lord Markham in the House of Lords on Monday (December 5) and has been described as a "rare" move by health officials.

As reported by the i newspaper, it would see penicillin or an alternative antibiotic given to all children in a year group that had been hit by a case of Strep A, even if they did not have any symptoms.

GPs generally avoid mass prescription of antibiotics as it can build up resistance to serious infections in the population.

The Northern Echo: Antibiotics such as penicillin could be given to primary school children as a blanket protection measureAntibiotics such as penicillin could be given to primary school children as a blanket protection measure

However, isolation among children during the pandemic may have contributed to their having reduced immunity, the officials reportedly said.

The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) told the PA news agency the measure of prescribing antibiotics to children in a school or nursery exposed to non-invasive Strep A was “rare”.

The agency added the move is only considered in “exceptional circumstances” by the Outbreak Control Team (OCT) on a “case-by-case basis”.

They said: “There is no good evidence of (antibiotics’) effectiveness in routine outbreak control in this setting (involving children who have been contacts of non-invasive Strep A).

READ MOREStrep A: All you need to know from symptoms to treatment

“It can be considered in exceptional circumstances by the OCT, for example when there are reports of severe outcomes or hospitalisations.

“In school and nursery settings, antibiotic chemoprophylaxis is not routinely recommended for contacts of non-invasive (Group A streptococcus) GAS infection.”

What is Strep A?

BBC News reports that Strep A is a bacteria sometimes found in the throat or on the skin which can cause mild symptoms such as a sore throat or a skin infection.

However, very rarely it can cause invasive group A streptococcal infection or iGAS.

This means the bacteria get past your body's immune defences and can be very dangerous as a result, with symptoms including fever and severe muscle aches.

Currently, nine children have died in the UK since September from this, and the UKHSA are urging parents to speak with their doctor immediately if they notice their child having these symptoms.