Strep A and ET

Dear All
I need some advice. I work in a secondary school. (I have ET and I take quite a high dose of Hydroxy)
2 students have Strep A in the year group l work in and our head teacher has asked if any member of staff have a condition that affects their immune system.
Should l be worried.
My ET was only diagnosed April 2021 and l was off work with Long Covid until May of that year so l wasn’t isolating because of ET.
Just need done clarity please.


Hi @Maureen31 this must be an anxious timer for you. This is really a question for someone like your CNS (Clinical Nurse Specialist), Consultant or GP, especially as you are on treatment because they know your complete history.
However I will copy the Blood Cancer UK nurse advicors in case they can add anything @BloodCancerUK_Nurses
From y6our post it appears that your employers are unaware of your diagnosis, so this brings up other issues for you?
Good luck, take care and please let us know how you get on.


Hello Maureen - sounds like your employer is being sensible and responsible in their approach to Strep A in the school which is good. I have ET and had 13 years on Hydroxy (recent years i am on Pegasys interferon) - it does sound as if it would be a good time to discuss with your employer, if you feel you wish to, that you do have a chronic blood cancer and take a chemotherapy treatment that will be ongoing - they can then work around your situation. As Erica said it’s certainly an issue to discuss with your haem team who know your individual health and current blood counts - but as a “general” certainly both ET and it’s treatment effect the immune system and for some HU can deplete the white blood/ neutrophil counts - I know prepandemic when I was still working I always had to “go careful” as I worked in a large open place office - do chat to your hospital team and get some input on this current situation. All the best


Thank you both so much for your advice.
I will definitely contact the nurse tomorrow and see what she says.
This forum is such a great place to get answers and help. It’s been a huge help to me. xx


Do you have work place adjustments ?

You have a long term health condition and are protected under the disability at work Act

Persons with HIV infection, cancer and multiple sclerosis

A9. The Act states that a person who has cancer, HIV infection or multiple sclerosis (MS) is a disabled person. This means that the person is protected by the Act effectively from the point of diagnosis. (Sch1, Para 6). (See also paragraphs B18 to23 (progressive conditions).)

Your work place should make reasonable adjustments for you to protect you.from harm for example Strep A/ Covid

It’s good to see that your school have thought about those who are immunosupressed
I would be having a conversation with them

1 Like

Hi Maureen

I’m in the same situation but with a different blood cancer.

I’m already on a reduced timetable and only go for my lessons and today got an email from the headteacher saying two students have gone home to then be diagnosed with strep A. Email doesn’t say much (cut and paste from local education authority health) for staff who are vulnerable to seek advice if concerned?!

I doubt anyone at school is going to give me advice, so I’ve texted my clinical nurse - not had a reply yet nor should I probably expect one due to strikes but I guess it’s left for us to do what we want to as I know for sure school won’t take accountability if whatever decision proves to be the wrong one.

For me, I’ll still go in but keep my contact to a bare minimum and only be in places/environments I’m happy with. Meant to be invigilating next week and I’ll definitely be excusing myself from that

1 Like

Hi Rammie thank you so much for your reply.
I have now been told what year group the students are in and the advice from the Head is to not go into support that year. Luckily there are only a couple of days left of school.
I too haven’t heard back from the nurse. But that’s fine. I will keep trying because who knows how long Strep A will be around.
Thanks again for reaching out. It’s good to know l’m not alone. Take care x


Nurse is coming in to give flu jabs to year 7,8 and 9s tomorrow. Not sure if it pre planned or in light of what’s happening. I’m currently only teaching year 11 and 12 and with a few days left… it creates more work if I don’t go in.

If your school is anything like mine, it’s all on you to use common sense and be mindful of your health when deciding what you chose to do… which is fine but sometimes you want those decisions made for you of what to do so you don’t feel anxious or guilty

1 Like

My daughter is a teacher and was wary of bringing Covid home to me as her family was living with us at the time. The school improved the rooms she was teaching in so she had bigger classroom space with good ventilation. Eventually they moved back to their house and we ceased ‘in person’ contact as things got worse.

1 Like

It’s not all on you
Your employer has to make sure under Health and safety that you are safe at work
With a health condition you should be having a discussion on work place adjustments and guided to Occupational Health who can help with this

Section 44 of Employment rights

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

[F4(1A)A worker has the right not to be subjected to any detriment by any act, or any deliberate failure to act, by his or her employer done on the ground that—

(a)in circumstances of danger which the worker reasonably believed to be serious and imminent and which he or she could not reasonably have been expected to avert, he or she left (or proposed to leave) or (while the danger persisted) refused to return to his or her place of work or any dangerous part of his or her place of work, or

(b)in circumstances of danger which the worker reasonably believed to be serious and imminent, he or she took (or proposed to take) appropriate steps to protect himself or herself or other persons from the danger.]

1 Like

I had a meeting (over the phone) with my occupational health doctor and though I already knew how I was going to approach the outbreak of strep thought I’d ask anyway with regards to posting a reply/response to the questioned answered by a healthcare professional.

Should I be concerned regarding my condition and the recent outbreak of strep at work/school:

His reply was:

Strep is a form of common cold and affects people more notably children with a developing immune system than adults. The approach to strep should be as a person in my condition be treated in that should anyone close be suffering that you take the normal precautions to prevent catching it. Washing hands covering mouth when coughing. You shouldn’t be shielding as a case would argue that you should expose your body to the current climate to boost your immune system not that you should purposely chase it. Should I fall victim to anything I feel is more sinister than I should seek advice from my medical team.

Generally I was happy with his response though it’s worth nothing I only have a few days at work remaining before breaking up for Christmas

I hope this helps others too

Take care everybody :slight_smile:

1 Like

For what it’s worth, NHS inform suggests Strep A is transmitted either by contact, or via droplets. They recommend hand washing and making sure coughs are caught in tissues which are then binned. It doesn’t mention masking, but I would have thought that if you have to go in to school, and you can still do your work wearing one, an N95/FFP2 mask would be a worthwhile precaution.

1 Like

Dear @Maureen31
Apologies for the late response to your question but I can see that the fantastic Forum members have given you lots of information. I would refer to your Clinical Nurse Specialist regarding your relative risk to Strep A as you are on chemotherapy tablets. As I am sure you are aware it is a huge challenge to avoid the winter bugs so good handwashing, mask wearing and distancing is advised where possible Strep A - NHS (
My advice would also be that if you develop any symptoms or signs of infection do contact your Haematology team for advice as your immune system is suppressed by the Hydroxycarbamide.
I am also pleased to hear that your employer is mindful of your needs and it may be worth your clinical team writing a letter to support you in managing infection risks in the future.
Do call us if you need to talk this through: Blood cancer information and support by phone and email | Blood Cancer UK
Take care

1 Like

I thought strep A was only dangerous for children. Thank you for raising the issue. I hve ET and take hydroxicarbomide. There was strep A in my grandsons class last week. I took him out for the day yesterday. He was coughing snd my other grandson said he has a sore throat. Should i be worried?

On the subject of reasonable adjustments in the workplace I did manage to negotiate some before i retired but it was a struggle.
Dont let your employer fob you off.