THE number of people who have died following an outbreak of a deadly bacterial infection has increased.

The Mid Essex Clinical Commissioning Group has confirmed two historical cases have been added to the list of those affected by Invasive Group A Streptococcus and one of the two infected died.

Both cases, which were in mid Essex, date back to 2018 and have not yet been confirmed.

It means the number of people who have died after contracting the infection is now 15.

A CCG spokesman said: "The Incident Management team has learned of two additional, historical cases which will remain probable and date back to the end of 2018.

"They were identified following a thorough review of all iGAS cases on laboratory databases, using patient data from Provide Community Interest Company, who provide the majority of our community services in mid Essex. Sadly one of these patients died in 2018.

"The review was conducted by Public Health England to make sure all cases of iGAS dating back 18 months had been investigated for a potential link to the outbreak in mid Essex. The two additional patients, including the patient who sadly died, are both from mid Essex and were receiving treatment for wounds in their own home or in a care home.

"Our thoughts are with the families of those patients who have passed away."

The CCG is continuing to investigate the outbreak along with the help of Public Health England.

An independent review is also being carried out to determine the cause and findings are expected to be announced in spring next year.

Experts say the outbreak will not be declared over until a significant period of time has elapsed where there have been no new cases.

The number of people affected so far in mid and west Essex is 39, with many of them elderly and receiving treatment for chronic wounds in their own homes or in care homes.

Anyone with concerns should contact the freephone helpline on 03000 032124.