Health bosses say all community nurse bases in mid Essex will undergo a deep clean following an outbreak of a bacterial infection which has killed 12 people.

The Mid Essex CCG says it has undertaken a number of steps to control the spread of invasive Group A streptococcus, better known as strep A.

The potentially deadly strand of the infection has affected 32 people in the Braintree, Maldon and Chelmsford areas so far.

Witham MP Priti Patel has confirmed two of the 12 to have died following the outbreak were from her constituency.

With an investigation continuing into the cause of the outbreak, the CCG has revealed the steps it is taking to control and contain the infection.

Elderly people being treated for chronic wounds either at home or in care homes are said to be at greater risk.

Some of the steps being taken include a deep cleaning of all community nurse bases, and providing health workers with greater access to antibiotics.

Staff are also being urged to increase their hand hygiene and wear personal protective equipment where appropriate.

Wound swabs from all patients on the wound care caseload list are meanwhile being taken to spot any early signs of anyone developing the infection.

Following the outbreak, Rachel Hearn, Director of Nursing and Quality at the Mid Essex CCG said: “Our thoughts are with the families of those patients who have died.

“The NHS in Essex is working closely with Public Health England and other partners to manage this local incident, and extra infection control measures have been put in place to prevent the infection spreading in the area.

“The risk of contracting iGAS is very low for the vast majority of people and treatment with antibiotics is very effective if started early. We will continue to work with our partners in Public Health England to investigate how this outbreak occurred and take every possible step to ensure our local community is protected.”

Anyone who is worried can call a Freephone helpline on 03000 032124. Lines are open Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm.