Increase in Scarlet fever both nationally and in the local area

We have been informed by Public Health England that they have had a increase in the number of notifications of adults and children both locally and nationally. We have not been advised oany cases in school, but we have been asked to inform parents of the signs and symtoms of scarlet fever so they know what to look out for .

Signs and symptoms of scarlet fever:

Scarlet fever is a common childhood infection caused by Streptococcus pyogenes, or group A streptococcus (GAS). The early symptoms of scarlet fever include sore throat, headache, fever, nausea and vomiting. After 12 to 48 hours the characteristic red, pinhead rash develops, typically first appearing on the chest and stomach, then rapidly spreading to other parts of the body, and giving the skin a sandpaper-like texture. The scarlet rash may be harder to spot on darker skin, although the 'sandpaper' feel should be present. Patients typically have flushed cheeks and pallor around the mouth. This may be accompanied by a ‘strawberry tongue’. As the child improves peeling of the skin can occur.

Infection control advice:

In schools and nurseries it is recognised that infections can be spread through direct physical contact between children and staff and through shared contact with surfaces such as table tops, taps, toys and handles. During periods of high incidence of scarlet fever there may also be an increase in outbreaks in schools, nurseries and other child care settings.

As per the national guidance on ‘Health protection in schools and other childcare facilities’, children and adults with suspected scarlet fever would not be allowed to attend nursery / school or work for 24 hours after the commencement of appropriate antibiotic treatment. Good hygiene practice such as hand washing remains the most important step in preventing and controlling spread of infection.


Please be aware children who have had chickenpox recently are more likely to develop more serious infection during an outbreak of scarlet fever. 

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Article Posted: March 8, 2018

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