Increase in scarlet fever notification
Scarlet fever, sometimes called scarlatina, is an infectious disease caused by a bacteria. It is highly infectious and can be caught through direct contact with an infected person or through the air via droplets from coughs or sneezes.
The characteristic symptom of scarlet fever is a widespread, fine pink-red rash that feels like sandpaper to touch. Other symptoms include a high temperature, a flushed face and a red, swollen tongue.
Treatment is straightforward and usually involves a course of penicillin antibiotics.
Although scarlet fever is usually a mild illness, some people can develop complications so please take note of the following recommended actions.
- Parents of unwell children should be advised to seek medical advice for diagnosis and treatment.
- See your GP or contact NHS Direct 0845 46 47 as soon as possible.
- Make sure that you/your child takes the full course of any antibiotics prescribed by the doctor.
- Stay at home, away from nursery, school or work for at least 24 hours after starting the antibiotic treatment, to avoid spreading the infection. Please let the school know as soon as possible if your child is being treated for scarlet fever.
- Scarlet fever infection at the same time as chickenpox or influenza can be more serious. If you are concerned for any reason please seek medical help immediately.
- Good hand hygiene and avoiding the spread of respiratory secretions (as per flu - “catch it, bin it, kill it”) can help to prevent the spread of infection.