Health officials say they may 'never fully understand' the source of the deadly Strep A outbreak.

An independent investigation was unable to identify a single source of transmission of the Group A streptococcus (iGAS) outbreak.

Read about the outcome of the report here.

The outbreak occurred in mid and west Essex between February and August 2019 and infected 39 people.

Sadly 15 people died.

As a result of the report, 22 recommendations have been made to the organisations involved.

Chief Nurse and Operating Officer at Provide, Stephanie Dawe said the report identified 'a number of areas for improvement' and said they are 'working diligently to make them happen'.

She said: "“We were deeply saddened by the deaths of a number of people from this dreadful infection. It’s impossible to understand the loss their friends and family feel but we want to offer our sincere condolences.

“We may never fully understand the route of transmission but there are clearly things we need to do differently. The report highlights a number of areas for improvement and our nursing teams have been working diligently to make these changes.

“The healthcare system found this outbreak an extraordinary challenge and there was much learning taking place for our teams and our organisation. We consistently strive to do our best by the people we serve and remain conscious that our nurses worked extremely hard to contain the infection.”

A third of recommendations have already been fully implemented across the CCG and the rest are in progress and on track to be complete by the end of the year.

Medical Director for Mid Essex Hospitals, Dr Kevin Beaton said: "We have worked very closely with our colleagues across the health system to ensure that we have learned all the lessons that we can from this outbreak.

"Our absolute priority is that our patients receive the best possible care and the report has been helpful in confirming our areas of focus.

"We have a detailed action plan in place and have already made a raft of improvements including implementing comprehensive programmes of training and audits, and standardising policies and procedures across all of our services."